Thursday 14 December 2017

Wily survivor Kenny has taken so many hits, but the end feels close

Enda Kenny is a political survivor but may face a leadership challenge by the summer by others in Fine Gael including Leo Varadkar Picture: Damien Eagers
Enda Kenny is a political survivor but may face a leadership challenge by the summer by others in Fine Gael including Leo Varadkar Picture: Damien Eagers
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

It's a year on Friday since Enda Kenny called the General Election, utterly confident he'd be returned to office. And while he did indeed achieve that goal, it was the most Pyrrhic of victories. Mr Kenny may have been the first Fine Gael Taoiseach ever to be re-elected, but equally no Fine Gael Taoiseach had ever presided over so many seat losses, even in the party's drubbings of 1977 and 1987.

That he is still clinging on to power is testament to his political cunning and survival instincts. But there is no doubt that as far as the majority of his much-diminished parliamentary party is concerned, he is in grave danger of over-staying his welcome.

A sitting Taoiseach is hard to move and Mr Kenny has been clever about continually shifting the goal posts in terms of his likely departure date - each time taking the pressure out of any building head of steam. For a while, after the election debacle last year, it seemed he might not last until the summer.

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