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Enda: I don’t live in a world where people only tell you nice things

The Taoiseach has hit back at claims there is an atmosphere of non-criticism in Fine Gael.

Image: Niall Carson

ENDA KENNY HAS insisted his party does not discourage internal critics from speaking out and says Fine Gael is “not a party of Yes people”.

The Taoiseach was responding to remarks from the Fine Gael TD John Deasy in September where he said that people within the party were becoming “disgusted” with how it is being run.

Kenny was widely criticised for his handling of the John McNulty Seanad by-election debacle in the autumn.

Deasy was among the most vocal critics saying at the time of the controversy that “people are becoming disgusted with the way Fine Gael is being run” and claiming that there is an “atmosphere of total non-criticism” within the party.

Several TDs privately agreed with Deasy’s remarks, but only the Cavan-Monaghan deputy Seán Conlan publicly backed the Waterford deputy.

However, Kenny insisted earlier this month that he hears lots of criticism from within the party, saying: ”This is not a party of Yes-people, and I don’t live in a world where people only tell you nice things.

“You have to deal with hard issues and very straight talk, and that is what politics is about, and we encourage that in Fine Gael,” he told reporters in a pre-Christmas briefing.

Fine Gael ard fheis Source: Brian Lawless

“I’ve just come back from seven different meetings around the country where I met 2,000 people face to face who are supporters of the party.

“They would have made their views very clear about what they think you should be at, and how the strategy should be for the future to communicate the message of what government is doing.”

Kenny said that he meets individually with his party’s deputies and attends all of the Fine Gael parliamentary party meetings that he can.

But he said that it was more important that he and his ministers engage with people outside the party.

Kenny added: “[The public] need to see them in the constituencies, they need to engage with them and hear about their programmes and strategies, and what they are doing in their Departments and I suppose, on the odd occasion, what they might do in their constituencies for them.”

September: ‘People are becoming disgusted with the way Fine Gael is being run,’ says… Fine Gael TD

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Hugh O'Connell

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