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Leo Varadkar is not lending his weight to any heave against Enda Kenny

The Social Protection Minister says he ‘doesn’t think it would be right to push him.’

An Irish Times opinion poll during the week showed that Varadkar would be the most popular choice to succeed Enda Kenny.
An Irish Times opinion poll during the week showed that Varadkar would be the most popular choice to succeed Enda Kenny.
Image: RTÉ.ie

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Leo Varadkar says he ‘doesn’t think it would be right’ for elements within Fine Gael to push Enda Kenny into stepping aside.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics this afternoon, Varadkar said he doesn’t think now is the time to change the leadership of his party.

“I don’t think that it’s time for Enda Kenny to depart. We’ve only just formed a government, we’ve only just managed to get one through after a very difficult election,” he said, adding that it’s time for the government to”get down to doing the people’s business”.

An opinion poll in the Irish Times this week showed that Varadkar would be the most popular choice among the general public to succeed Kenny, but the minister said he would not be giving the go ahead to any potential heave.

“The position is that Enda Kenny will decide in his own time when he wants to relinquish leadership.”

He’s said that he doesn’t intend to lead the party into the next general election and he will go at a time of his choosing. I don’t think it would be right to push him, I don’t think it would be the right thing to do.

Pressure on Kenny has grown following a difficult week for his leadership where some independent members of government voted against the cabinet’s line on Mick Wallace’s abortion bill.

The chairman of the government’s commission into the future of water charges was also forced to step down, in part after Fianna Fáil refused to back him.

As Kenny’s leadership was brought into further question, government Chief Whip Regina Doherty also said that a timeline for Kenny’s eventual departure would be helpful.

Asked about this, Varadkar said that he doesn’t think a timeline for Kenny’s departure would be a positive step.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea that any Taoiseach or any Prime Minister should give a timeline for their departure,” he said.

We see what’s happening across the water in the United Kingdom where David Cameron announced he is going in a few months and as a result of that he has no authority as Prime Minister now. You have a leadership contest going on that’s practically paralysed their government.

Poll: Should Enda Kenny step down as Taoiseach, and if so, when? >

Read: Government accused of facilitating tax avoidance by vulture funds >

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Rónán Duffy

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