Taoiseach: 'This is not a time to mess around' as rebel backbenchers could 'go missing' for votes

Taoiseach: 'This is not a time to mess around' as rebel backbenchers could 'go missing' for votes

The Taoiseach has rounded on rebel backbenchers still questioning his leadership, saying now is not the time to "mess around".

But Enda Kenny has refused to say if he would fight a motion of no confidence if that was put down at the Parliamentary Party.

A small number of backbench TDs continue to insist Fine Gael must at least examine the leadership of the party after the budget.

As the Fine Gael 'think-in' drew to a close the Taoiseach insisted he has a mandate and suggested this debate was de-stabilising the Government.

Mr Kenny said: "You know stability is a very important element of where we are here, this is not a time to mess around with political parties.

"Our country faces enormous challenges, unprecedented in fact, and I am not, and have no intention, of allowing destabilision of a government in these circumstances.

"I want the entire Fine Gael Party and all its members to focus on our principals and the agenda that we have set out. We have no room for deviations from that."

Irish Examiner reporter, Elaine Loughlin, writes that a small number of backbench TDs have indicated that they could "go missing" for votes or may even table a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach if he does state his intentions for leaving in the coming months.

But speaking at the party's think-in in Newbridge, Co Kildare this afternoon Mr Kenny said now is not the time to "mess around with political parties".

"I have a mandate from the Oireachtas as Taoiseach and head of government in the most challenging times that our country has seen for a very long time not just at home but abroad," he said pointing to the Apple tax ruling, concern around Brexit and other national issues such as homelessness, the budget and crime.

"We have a really busy challenging agenda up ahead, locally, nationally and internationally.

"As I have said quite clearly, I am not and I have no intention of walking away from my mandate in that regard.

He added: "We have no room for deviations from that, this is about our people our country and our lives, it's much too important for side matters."


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