Kenny calls end to attacks on Lee

ENDA KENNY called an end to personal attacks on George Lee, as Fine Gael gave support to his handling of the resignation crisis.

A parliamentary party meeting, lasting more than four hours, saw leadership strategy questioned, concerns over Mr Kenny’s image raised and criticism of “haughty” frontbenchers and the party’s presentation of policy also raised.

Though criticism of Mr Kenny personally was muted, the Fine Gael leader was told that a regular message from the door- steps was that he did not cut it as alternative taoiseach.

Health spokesman James Reilly said the Lee affair “dominated” the much longer than usual meeting, but that Mr Kenny stressed the party must put the trauma of the past week behind it.

This was seen as a call to end the personalised attacks on Mr Lee which saw his former campaign manager, education spokesman, Brian Hayes, suggest the former broadcaster had been unhappy at his drop in salary after quitting RTÉ for the Dáil.

Dublin TD Lucinda Creighton was among those concerned that Mr Kenny was being seen in a poor light by voters.

Midlands TD Damien English and Senator JP Phelan also raised concerns.

Veteran TD Bernard Durkan called for some members of the front- bench team to show more humility. The attitude of members, such as justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan and Mr Hayes, is believed to have annoyed some backbenchers.

TDs unhappy at Mr Kenny’s leadership were keen to avoid a public spat after the disastrous few days triggered by Mr Lee’s shock resignation, but privately warned that the next opinion would be important in the timing of any move against Mr Kenny.


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