Friday 27 April 2018

Ruthless Kenny no chieftain, but he took party and country back from the brink

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is stepping down. Photo: Haydn West/PA
Taoiseach Enda Kenny is stepping down. Photo: Haydn West/PA
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Enda Kenny is an unlikely champion of brinkmanship. When he took over the leadership of Fine Gael in 2002, the party was on the edge of relevance. Reeling from an election drubbing at the hands of Bertie Ahern, it was reduced to just 31 Dáil seats and the future looked bleak.

He set about trying to reinvigorate the troops, telling them: "There will be no talking down to members of Fine Gael. This is your party."

There was no eureka moment, but in 2004 Fine Gael out-performed expectations in local and European elections, winning five seats in the EU Parliament.

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