Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell says he urged Enda Kenny to quit to prevent a heave

A Fine Gael TD who last week called for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to resign as he no longer has faith in him claims he only made the remark to prevent — and not cause — a no confidence motion in his leader.

Government back-bencher, Alan Farrell, made the comment a week after he urged Mr Kenny to resign for the good of the party and the coalition.

Last week, as pressure mounted on Mr Kenny to step aside due to his handling of the Maurice McCabe Tusla scandal, Mr Farrell said it is time for a new leader of the party: “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. 

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.”

The comment was one of a number from backbench TDs, including Noel Rock and party vice-chairman Pat Deering, and was followed by Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar’s weekend call for clarity on the “de-stabilising and distracting” issue.

However, in a speech which was widely seen to outflank his detractors, Mr Kenny told Wednesday’s parliamentary party meeting that he will not resign immediately and will “conclusively” address the matter on his return from the St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House.

Mr Farrell then said he only released his statement to prevent — not cause — a motion of no confidence.

“That’s part and parcel of the rationale” he told the Irish Examiner.

“I did not want a motion of no confidence. Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney subsequently made their comments at the weekend and the Taoiseach clarified the situation on Wednesday.”

Asked if the position means that he has backed down from a heave, Mr Farrell added: “I absolutely don’t agree with that. I stand over every word I said.”

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