FINE GAEL TD for Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell has become the first TD from Enda Kenny’s own party to officially declare his position to be “untenable”.
The Taoiseach’s standing has been called into question in spectacular fashion since a gaffe-filled week regarding the government’s handling of the Maurice McCabe whistleblower controversy.
While Kenny himself has resisted putting a timeline on his own departure, he had been warned by his own backbenchers that he must do so or face a motion of no confidence in his leadership.
This afternoon Farrell said: “Unfortunately, I no longer have confidence in the ability of Enda Kenny TD to lead Fine Gael and I believe his position is now untenable.”
Farrell was most recently in the news for kicking off a sustained scandal involving Sinn Féin in early December by suggesting, under Dáil privilege, that two of their TDs had knowledge concerning the death of prison officer Brian Stack at the hands of the IRA in 1984.
His statement continues:
“Fine Gael, as a party in government, requires a leader who can manage the party in a manner which inspires faith amongst the parliamentary party, our local representatives and the wider membership.”
I wish to acknowledge Enda Kenny’s unwavering commitment to public service and to working in the best interests of our society and the Irish public. While I sincerely thank An Taoiseach for the work he has done in rebuilding our party since becoming leader in 2002 and even more so for his incredible stewardship of the country since 2011, I believe it is now time for him to step aside and allow a new leader, with a fresh approach, to lead us into the future.
“We must be prepared to tackle the challenges which arise in our society. In doing so we require a leader who can lead with confidence, and highlight how the values and principles of Fine Gael can best benefit our society and every community across our “country.”
Over the last number of days, we as a party have stumbled from one crisis to another, highlighting how fragile our arrangement as a minority government is. Not only were we close to an election once, I firmly believe we came close three times. If anything should be learned from the events of the last few days it is that we must be ready for an election at any time.”
In order to do that, we must have a new leader in place who will inject a new impetus and provide a new direction for Fine Gael.
“As the co-author of a recent internal party report, I am very much in tune with the feelings and position of our membership, right across the country. A week does not go by that a further comment from another constituency arrives. In a democratic organisation, that is not healthy and thus, I reluctantly withdraw my support for the continued tenure of Enda Kenny TD as leader of Fine Gael,” he concluded.