Enda Kenny back as Taoiseach by the smallest of margins

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has been re-elected as Taoiseach by the most slender of margins, gaining just one vote more than the minimum needed to regain power. Mr Kenny won the fourth and final nomination vote by 59 votes to 49 after 11th-hour talks with Independents.

However, the fact the vote haul is just one more than the 58 minimum level Fianna Fáil said is needed under its deal with Fine Gael means the new government remains in danger of collapse unless it secures further support. Mr Kenny received the backing of 50 Fine Gael TDs, including his own vote, and the unaligned Independents Michael Lowry and Katherine Zappone in yesterday’s ballot.

He was also supported by five of the six-strong Independent Alliance and two of the rural five Independent TDs. The five Independent Alliance TDs who voted in favour of Mr Kenny are Finian McGrath, Shane Ross, Sean Canney, Kevin Boxer Moran, and John Halligan. However, the group’s sixth member Michael Fitzmaurice abstained due to the fact he could not secure a deal on turf cutting.

The two of the five rural Independent TDs who supported Mr Kenny are Michael Harty and Denis Naughten; with colleague Noel Grealish abstaining; and Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins opposing.

As expected, Fianna Fáil (43) and the Greens (2) abstained alongside Michael Healy Rae and Maureen O’Sullivan, while Sinn Féin (23), Labour (7), the Social Democrats (3), AAA-PBP (6), the Mick Wallace-led Independents4Change (4), seven left-leaning Independents including Catherine Connolly and Tommy Broughan, and Danny Healy Rae opposed.

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