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Olwyn sticks to her guns and shuns FG frontbench

REBEL Fine Gael TDs may have gone back to Enda Kenny since their failed coup -- but at least Olwyn Enright has stuck to her guns.

The former spokeswoman on social welfare has told the Fine Gael party leader that she does not want any job on his front bench.

As all her fellow 'Green Isle Nine' rebels cosied up to Enda in the run-up to the announcing of his new front bench today, Olwyn remains firm to her convictions.

Ms Enright revealed today: "I approached Enda last week. I wanted, out of respect for him and the party, to let him know."

Sources close to Kenny have declared it is because Ms Enright is pregnant and for no other reason.

She was expected to retain a low-grade position on the frontbench as the party aims for a good gender balance, but has now left the door open for Cork TD Deirdre Clune and possibly Dublin rebel Lucinda Creighton.



Central

Richard Bruton who challenged Mr Kenny's leadership last month was expected to take a central role in the new shadow cabinet but not return to the finance portfolio. It was predicted that he would be enterprise spokesperson or possibly agree to a move to education.

Michael Noonan was expected to be given the finance job, while the deputy party job is between Phil Hogan and Dr James Reilly.

Two south Dublin TDs -- Brian Hayes and Olivia Mitchell -- are likely to be dropped.

Mr Hayes was seen as the ringleader of the heave, while Ms Mitchell's long service will work against her.

She previously told the Herald that she was at the latter end of her career and would have to live with the consequences of backing Richard Bruton's coup attempt.

Fine Gael sources say that Mr Kenny has spent a considerable amount of time "putting the pieces of his frontbench jigsaw together".

"There are so many things to consider. Firstly those who were loyal to him in recent weeks can expect the same in return. Geography always plays a role in these things and gender," they said.



Ignored

"However, loyalty isn't everything in politics and there are key players from the Green Isle that can't be ignored."

The "key players" are thought to include Leo Varadkar who is tipped to remain at centre stage.

Ms Enright's decision to shun the political limelight for family life also boosts the chances of her Laois/Offaly constituency colleague Charlie Flanagan.

He was being lined up for demotion but sources say that Mr Kenny want to keep a vocal presence in Taoiseach Brian Cowen's backyard.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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