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Kenny comes out fighting to fire up party faithful

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny denied there was a rift between his party and Labour.

The Fine Gael leader has praised Eamon Gilmore after reports that the Tanaiste was not putting in robust Cabinet performances.

At his party's two-day think-in at Galway, Mr Kenny denied that his deputy was "dithering".

"First of all, it's not true," said Mr Kenny. "Let me assure you that the relationship between the Fine Gael and Labour ministers is absolutely strong.

"In respect of comments that were made specifically about Eamon Gilmore, let me assure you that both as Minister and as Tanaiste, he plays his full and constructive part in the process of decision making."

It was alleged on Monday that some members of Cabinet felt Mr Gilmore was "indecisive", "unsure of himself" and "quiet" during meetings.


But the Taoiseach rejected this and said everyone at Cabinet was focused on implementing the Programme for Government.

The Taoiseach also refused to back down in his row with the Vatican after he claimed it obstructed investigations into clerical sexual abuse.

Earlier this week the Vatican called on Mr Kenny to withdraw the remarks he made during a Dail speech in July, saying his allegations went much further than the Cloyne Report.

But yesterday the Taoiseach was defiant, saying he stood by what he said in the Dail.

He said: "It was an expression of the anger, frustration and the concern of so many people in this country about issues related to this over a very long number of years."

He went on to say that during statutory commissions of investigation into child sex abuse in 2006, 2007 and 2009, the Vatican was requested to provide information and refused.

He added: "Anything less than full cooperation in my view is unwarranted interference."

Outside the Radisson Blu Hotel around 20 students gathered to protest against an increase in student fees. Two chained themselves to the entrance of the hotel as Fine Gael TDs were arriving.

The gathering will conclude today after workshops on how to sell presidential candidate, Gay Mitchell, to voters.