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Was Enda a good Taoiseach? People are split on the question

Just over 40% say ‘yes’. About the same number disagree.

Enda takes part in this year's St Patrick's parade in New York.
Enda takes part in this year's St Patrick's parade in New York.
Image: Niall Carson

WAS ENDA KENNY a good Taoiseach?

It seems the nation is split on the answer.

A poll carried out by Amarách Research for Claire Byrne Live and TheJournal.ie found that 41% of Irish people thought Enda Kenny was a good Taoiseach, while 42% of people thought he failed as Taoiseach.

From the panel of over 1,000 Irish adults, 17% of respondents could not decide.

The longest-standing Fine Gael Taoiseach the country has ever had, Kenny announced yesterday that he is to step down from his role. Kenny has led the party for over 15 years.

Kenny told the Fine Gael parliamentary party about his decision at a meeting at 4.40pm on Wednesday.

Over the past few months, Kenny repeatedly delayed the announcement of his departure plans and there was speculation throughout the week that he would again decide to hold the position even longer.

However, in a statement issued to the media at the beginning of the party meeting, Kenny got the job done in just seven minutes.

The statement was released via his Twitter, reading: “Last year I indicated that I would not lead the FG Party into the next General Election. I have decided to implement that decision today.”

Effective from midnight just gone, Enda Kenny retired as leader of Fine Gael.

His statement confirmed that he will continue to carry out his duties as party leader until his successor is elected through the Fine Gael leadership election process.

“I would like to stress the huge honour and privilege that it has been for me to lead our party for the past 15 years, in opposition and into Government on two successive occasions,” Kenny said.

“I thank all our members, past and present for that privilege.”

Kenny received a standing ovation from TDs and senators as he walked out of the room.

As he made his exit, Kenny declared: “Let the games begin.”

What now?

Each party follows its own rules for selecting its leader. For Fine Gael, candidates must be members of Dáil Éireann and must be nominated in writing by members representing at least 10% of the parliamentary party.

Candidates have the next seven days to achieve this to be accepted into the race.

The party’s Executive Council is set to meet today to decide on the ground rules for a contest which will begin immediately.

Frontrunners of the leadership contest, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney have so far refrained from canvassing for support, to allow Kenny his moment.

The position of leader of the party will be determined by electoral vote, made up of parliamentary party members (TDs, senators, and MEPs), members of the party (people who are registered as Fine Gael members) and councillors.

Current rules state that the polling day and times are determined by the National Executive but cannot be later than 20 days after a vacancy of the position of leadership arises. This is due to be held on Friday 2 June.

Read: ‘Let the public decide’: What’s happening with all these referendums promised by government?

More: Has the government delivered on its ‘ultimate goal’? One year in, here’s how it has fared

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