Pressure mounts on Kenny to quit

Angst within the party is growing following the Taoiseach's statement on the future of a Sinn Féin coalition government

Pressure mounts on Kenny to quit

Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's future as leader of Fine Gael is in jeopardy following his handling of discussion surrounding the likelihood of a potential coalition with Sinn Féin.

Mr Kenny was forced to clarify his party's position in a statement this week, insisting Fine Gael would not go into government with Sinn Féin.

The Sunday Independent reports that Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald confirmed that Mr Kenny had "made it absolutely clear that we do not see a future with a coalition with Sinn Féin and I don't see us in coalition with Sinn Féin."

Ms Fitzgerald added that the Taoiseach was aware of the mood within the party surrounding his leadership.

The paper adds that concerns are growing among Fine Gael's senior ranking members over Mr Kenny's leadership, with a Cabinet minister saying he believed the Taoiseach would step down in the summer.

Another senior minister told the publication that Mr Kenny w2s "handing votes" to Fianna Fáil with his comments on Sinn Féin.

At a press conference last week, Mr Kenny refused to be drawn on whether he is considering stepping down from the leadership position when quizzed by Irish Times journalist Sarah Bardon.

He has previously said he will step down as Fine Gael leader before the General Election in 2018. However, should the minority government fall before then, Fine Gael may not be in a position to elect a new leader.

According to the Sunday Independent, sources close to Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said he would not be "goaded" into moving against the party leader.