Republic of Ireland news

The background to Taoiseach Enda Kenny's resignation

Enda Kenny is resigning 
Brian Hutton, Press Association

Here are some of the key questions after Enda Kenny announced he is stepping down.

Is he not doing a good job?

That's not how he would see it. He is arguably his party's most successful Taoiseach. The longest-serving and the only Fine Gael Taoiseach ever re-elected. He has also presided over a near-miraculous rebound in Ireland's economic fortunes.

Everyone must love him?

Well ... it is not that simple. Despite his achievements and international reputation, his party took a battering at the polls in the last general election. His slogan of Let's Keep The Recovery Going grated with the many who weren't feeling it. He was only able to pull together a minority government - propped up by Fine Gael's ancient enemies Fianna Fail.

Ah, so the old foes are pulling the rug on him?

No. In fact, the heave is from within his own ranks. Young pretenders have their eyes on his throne. Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney to name but two.

Well, the little so-and-sos...

The way they see it, is that Fianna Fail will pull the rug on the government sooner or later anyway. So they want to be prepared for another general election. Enda said himself he won't lead the party into another poll, after their rout last time around.

Ahh! So what was keeping him from handing over the baton?

There were a few things he wanted to get out of the way first. Not least, his meeting with Donald Trump in the White House in March and the start of the Brexit negotiations. Also, every extra day in office further protected his claim as longest serving Fine Gael Taoiseach and he wanted to stand down as much as possible on his own terms.

He'll be looking forward to putting the feet up now, I suppose..

Unlikely. Don't be surprised if a big job in Europe comes up for him.

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