Emotion the order of the day as Enda Kenny steps down at historic Fine Gael party meeting

Emotion the order of the day as Enda Kenny steps down at historic Fine Gael party meeting

It was a short but historic meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, when an emotional Enda Kenny announced he would be standing down as leader, writes political reporter Elaine Loughlin.

The Taioseach arrived in the room at 4.36pm to addressed his party colleges.

Thanking those in the Fine Gael party, his constituents and family he announced he would be stepping down with immediate effect. His speech received a standing ovation.

It was described as a "pretty emotional speech" by one Fine Gael member, with another saying Mr Kenny’s voice wavered towards the end.

"It was a very short speech, he may well have had more of a speech, but it was cut short as he got emotional," on TD said.

Party chairman Martin Heydon was the only other person to speak at the meeting.

In a statement released after the meeting Mr Heydon said: “Under Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, we saw a devastated economy repaired, long ignored social issues addressed, and the rebirth of a self-confident Ireland.

“His leadership of Fine Gael since 2002 has brought us to our most successful period in Government as the largest Party in Dáil Éireann for the last two terms.

“His leadership style was compassionate, pragmatic and inclusive, building a strong team which he led with energy and enthusiasm.

"Having inherited a country and an economy that was decimated by mismanagement, Enda’s strong leadership and ability to make hard decisions was recognised both at home and abroad and saw our international reputation restored and strengthened."

He added “He fostered and encouraged a generational change in our Party, which while being the largest party in Dáil Éireann, now also has one of the youngest age profiles. Thanks to Enda Kenny, Fine Gael has an abundance of talented representatives, who have an ever increasing experience of governing.

Junior Heath Minister, Catherine Bynre, did request to speak at the meeting this evening, however, it was cut short and ended after around 10 minutes.

Other items including an update on the rural development scheme by Heather Humphreys and a presentation from Junior Minister Helen McEntee were not raised.

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