Kenny to remain as Taoiseach until after Brexit Summit

The Taoiseach said he will set out Ireland's priorities and "make my point very strongly" at the summit at the end of April

Kenny to remain as Taoiseach until after Brexit Summit

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. Image: Paraic Gallagher / Newstalk

The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that he will remain in his position at least until the EU summit on Brexit in late-April.

Enda Kenny told the house that he will travel to the summit on April 29th as Taoiseach – and hinted he may remain on afterwards.

The special summit - announced this morning - will be an opportunity for the EU 27 leaders to set out the bloc's negotiating guidelines for Brexit.

In a tweet this morning, the President of the European Commission, Donald Tusk said the priority for the bloc must be "certainty, clarity for all: citizens, companies & member states."

Ireland's priorities

In the Dáil, Mr Kenny said the negotiations "will last for quite a while" and reiterated Ireland’s priorities.

“It is clear our priorities are the common travel area, the protection of the peace process, the non-return to a hard border and the maintenance of the trading relationship between Ireland and the UK,” he said.

“More important to all our futures is the position of Ireland as a member of the European Union.

“We will continue to negotiate and participate as a member of those 27 member states.”

Transition period

Mr Kenny said he believes a “transition period” will be needed regarding the changing trading relationship between Ireland and Britain.  

“The British Government wants as close a relationship as possible with the European Union and I support that principle,” he said.

“It is how one has that relationship, having been removed from the Single Market and changed position with regard to the customs union - that will be the net point of the negotiations.”

Pushed by Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath for full clarity on when he will step down, Mr Kenny quipped that the opposition will not be the first to know.

“I intend to make my point very strongly on the 29th of April at the European Council meeting,” he said.  

“We have prepared for this very well Deputy McGrath, it is not a laughing matter but you will not be the first to find out.”