Enda wins, but the votes (and some TDs futures) are to be shredded

From RTE:

Enda Kenny has survived the vote of confidence as leader of Fine Gael. Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Padraic McCormack said the motion was carried after a very thorough and full debate. He said the decision had been made not to disclose the vote results and that the ballot papers would be ‘shredded’.

And from Miriam Lord earlier in the day when she spoke to an old Fianna Fail hack:

“People are looking out for themselves. It looks like Richard Bruton has already picked his front bench. He’ll have to reward the people who jumped from Enda’s team. So what’s in it for the rest of the party? The backbenchers see these young bucks describing themselves as ‘the brightest and the best’ and putting themselves ahead of everyone else. If Fine Gael are going to be in power after the next election, maybe Enda Kenny offers the best bet for promotion. If he wins, most the current front bench will get the boot.”

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Labour will presumably now increase their lead.

    The country does not need both FG and FF anyway, hopefully only one of them will survive the next election.

  • Munsterview

    Enda may have solved one problem but he has made a dozen other ones, while some of his front bench dissidents may again serve, their opinion of the man will not have changed. The Irish electorate knows this.

    Sleight of hand with the voting records cannot change the public perception that the numbers broke down thirty / thirty with anyones guess as to how many of the other ten went his way. Any amount of Flannery flannel cannot change the fact that in the lead up to his re-election almost half of the serving parliamentarians had no confidence in him.

    As I finish off this he is under interview outside Lienster House surrounded by the likes of Bernard Allen who have been around as long as himself. An old hand I discussed this with last night said…… ” Enda will do the business to-morrow…… too many vacancies on the Front Bench….. the young turks will see Enda as their best prospect of immediate promotion and to hell with party and country ”

    It would appear that he was correct : great for them but a display of the same naked opportunism as under Fianna Failure in the Charlie Days. They have a Leader not registering with the public, they have a Party now seen to be no opposition to Fianna Failure but they have leapfrogged over solid performers of substance and are half way to their Ministerial if an election is won.

    Meanwhile over in Fianna Failure HQ the Champaign Corks are popping. Enda has proved he can get down and dirty but if the electorate wants that Fianna Failure do that sort of thing well and better !

  • dodrade

    I’m no expert on Southern politics but surely this was the worst possible result for Fine Gael?

  • As a Mayo person Im delighted Enda Kenny saw off this gang attack.

    Im not changing sides and I hope Labour can benefit from the discomfiture of others, but I have got to say it:


    As for the ‘gang’ early baths all round and I hope the waters cold!

  • Free State Barsteward

    The dogs in the street know FG have no chance with Enda Kenny at the helm. Ever since Bertie tore him apart in the leaders debate prior to last election, he has been on borrowed time.

    As for Bruton, why the hell did he move unless he was certain of his numbers or was there some last minute switching going on?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Enda may survive a few weeks/months until the next opinion poll and if Fine Gael are no better Bruton will simply tempt a few of Enda’s lot over to his side.

    Perhaps Enda has been listening to some American life coach who has been informing him that he has just got to want it badly enough and to keep focussing on his dream .

    Enda makes John Major look like Nelson Mandela.

  • Free State Barsteward


    I think Bruton has shot his load to put it crudely. He can never unite the party and will be seen as the man who tried to put the knife into nice man Enda.

    Therefore, while agreeing that another bad opinion poll will re-start the whispers, is there anybody else in FG willing to follow in Bruton’s footsteps.

    I don’t think so. It would appear they have decided ,lets stick Enda until the election and see how it falls. Loyality over common sense in my opinion.

  • martin

    If Enda really wants to lose his nice guy image and build on his ruthless streak he could give Richard his old job back. fill the front bench vacancies with pro Enda young bucks while sending the former front bench Brutonites to the very back

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Free State Barsteward,

    Surely Ricky will simply wait until the next bad opinion poll and have another go.

  • Munsterview

    Oh Bruton had the numbers, there or there abouts, he is too good a number cruncher to have made his stand otherwise.

    From to the Cosgrave ‘Minister for Hardship’ to Garret ‘odd socks’ to Enda there has always been a more than a touch of ‘otherworldliness’ about Fine Gael and it’s leadership. Some may even believe their own myth that they put the country first !

    The Old guard may have put what is best for the country first but it was the few young bucks that see empty front bench seats and a prospect of promotion over more experienced but dissenting heavyweights that made the difference for Enda.

    As far as they were concerned it was person before party and the country could take a running jump!

    As for destroying the votes immediately afterwards and swearing the counters to secrecy, did Fine Gael have to give such an obvious hostage to the Unionists by adopting medieval Vatican Election Practices ?

    Have they not heard of open transparent democracy ? Then again they were the party that ordered over a dozen lorry loads of Government documents including Court martial records destroyed before vacating office for Fianna Fail.

    Seems this thing about records and democracy do not sit too well with Fine Gael!

  • Munsterview

    Nah ! Assisted suicide is both morally wrong and illegal in the Free State !

  • Free State Barsteward


    I doubt it. Even if the vote went against Kenny today, a leadership contest would have followed meaning it might not have been the coranation the Bruton camp wanted.

    He will now be seen as a splitter & unlikely to garner the necessary support. If history is a pointer, I believe in previous challanges it is rare for the man who brandishes the knife to claim the prize.

    Anyway, this evening is too nice to waste on worrying about FG, I’m off down the pub to watch France v Mexico. Hopefully, I will be OK to comment later.

  • p90x wholesale

    Why???. FG are not doing well, but that is because they are seen as ‘tarred with the same brush as FF’, not because E Kenny is a bad leader. If anything he has pulled FG together.

    I suspect this ‘split’ has as much, if not more, to do with city v rural than with E Kenny.

  • Greenflag

    Did the shredders of the party vote wear blueshirts ? So much for ‘open’ and honest government from the opposition party.

    Whatever chance FG had of getting a vote out of Greenflag has now been ahem shredded 😉
    They are a party that can’t be trusted in government given both their scarcely concealed internal division and their debasement of the democratic process .

    The votes against Kenny were probably too numerous to be allowed public sight . Had they seen the light of day it’s likely that Kenny would have been ‘forced’ into retirement a la the ‘dump ‘Thatcher ‘ method of Tory party backbench malcontents .

  • Greenflag

    Yes, I have to say I spotted the potential resemblance, but there was no stalking horse, was there…

  • pmartin

    Bruton mismanaged this coup appallingly. He underestimated Kenny and expected him to walk away as soon as the front bench turned on him. When that did happen, RB had no pan B. If he couldn’t manage that how could he hope to beat Fianna Fail or be a competent Taoiseach. I personally don’t mind Kenny but he is deeply unpopular in the country. He is not the only thing wrong with FG but he is a drag on their support.

  • sdlp Man

    Who’s to say that Enda, whom seems to me to be a throughly decent man, won’t get a poll lift from this whole affair. I’ve never believed this “vox populi, vox Dei” crap as exemplified by opinion polls. Parties which obsess on opinion polls, like New Labour, eventually lose the plot.

    Enda did an excellent job in building up the Fine Gael organisational infrastructure, yet was damned for lack of charisma and leadership skills, whatever they are.

    Enda was bested by Ahern in the 2007 election debates yet the FF types I know are now agreed that Bertie, having wrecked the Irish economy, is a gobshite, mountebank and ignoramous. If I had voted FF in 2007, and unless I was a developer or a bank chief, I would look at myself in the mirror while shaving every morning and say to myself “you stupid git, you deserve everything that’s happened to you.”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    sdlp Man,

    FG had feck all to say about the way the economy was going in the run up to the election – in fact both parties spent their time arguing over stamp duty on property.

    In realtion to the economy FF and FG are but two sides of the same useless coin. Although to be fair the Warriors of Corruption are the clear leaders when it comes to the trousering of cash.

    In relation to Enda he has served his party extremely badly by continuing to lead it – he really should have been looking at the bigger picture and asking himself if he was the right person to lead his party.

  • Lack of charisma and leadership skills?

    I’m sorry – lack of charisma has to be taken as read – whatever he is like in person, he just fails to come across well in the media (to non-FG people). The fact that so many of his front bench revolted has no doubt been fatal in the medium term.
    As to leadership? This is the main opposition party who have had a bunch of hapless muppets on the government benches (I would exemtp Brian Lenihan perhaps) and been unable to force an election. With all of the opportunities to detach the Greens etc from FF (even on the sole fact that this government was not elected for some of the long term decision making it has had to take), FG could have already forced an election. But the absence of a coherent fiscal policy platform sort of suggests FG aren’t ready for government and want FF to take the hit for the next year or two. In which case, Enda may only be a benchwarmer for someone else – although everyone had (until recently) been assuming it would also be someone from FG!!!!!!!!

  • Ronan McDonald

    No one is really passing comment on the fact that the Senators always came out much for strongly for Enda than the TDs. Since it was probably a pretty close vote, does this mean that he only survived because of the people he chose to put in his parliamentary party, rather than the people the electorate chose?

    In any case, I don’t think FG would have been much better off with Bruton. Enda isn’t deeply disliked; he’s just not seen as Taoiseach material. Bruton can hardly fare any better on that front.

  • DeValery had a canary

    I love the way the Legions of Rearguard are thinking this is great for them. All it does is tell everyone who wants to smash the crooks to vote labour.

    At this rate FG will be putting up “single party government, no thanks” posters during the campaign.

  • sammaguire

    Anyone like this guy representing you in a crisis?

  • martin

    was looking at the comments after that clip and disagree with Tubridy being called a Dublin West Brit. Tubridy is a moderate nationalist whose grandfather was an old IRA veteran. I enjoy his show and find him balanced and unbiased and a good interviewer who works in an objective manner,recently he was just as tough when questioning Gerry Adams however needless to say Adams answered much better than Enda

  • sdlp Man

    I agree that all the parties in the Republic were, to varying degrees, clueless in the run-up to 2007 election. It’s just that the guys in charge, principally Ahern and “when I have money, I spend it” McCreevy, were really economic and fiscal criminals and they should be made, with others, like all the board members of the big banks, then Financial Regulator, etc. to pay the price for their economic sabotage. That means a lot of people going to jail, their pensions and personal assets forfeited.

    It’s not true to say that nobody saw the Republic’s economic crisis coming. There were plenty of economic commentators who read the situation right. The critical indicator was the amount of bank and personal borrowings being taken on. While the Ahern government was congratulating itself on the National Debt relative to GNP being kept steady or even reducing, they let the banks go mad with light touch regulation.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    sdlp Man,

    I didnt say “It’s not true to say that nobody saw the Republic’s economic crisis coming” I said FG had feck all to say about it at the run up to the election.

    You seemed to be suggesting that it would have been different if the FG had been in power with your remark

    “If I had voted FF in 2007” etc

    I dont beleive there is any evidence that the country would not have been wrecked if it had been FG instead of FF.

  • sammaguire

    Agree with you 100% martin!

  • SDLP Man


    The record shows that the most economically reckless administrations prior to Ahern’s were Lynch/Haughey post 1977, though Garret was pretty bad too. Coalitions have had to clear up the mess on at least two occasions.

    Talking about economic sabotage and the appalling mess created by the diesel launderers at Silverbridge, will be interested to hear what local MP Conor Murphy has to say.

  • sammaguire

    ….or Labour or anyone else I’m afraid. FG and Labour were more interested in Celia’s carpets and curtains than Anglo Irish and bank regulation. Sad but true.

  • Erasmus

    I rembember almost tearing my hair out and saying to myself ‘Northern Bank Robbery, Northern Bank Robbery, Northern Bank Robbery’….
    And feeling frustrated by the failure of a senior politico who one would presume keeps aclose eye on current affairs being unable to marshall this simple fact.

  • redhugh78

    Why? Have you evidence to say SF were responsible for robbing the Northern bank?

  • Alias

    “…they let the banks go mad with light touch regulation.”

    It’s true that the banks were undercapitalised and over-leveraged (hence the taxpayer boosting their capitcal rations with billions) but it isn’t true that the government had any control over that regulation, “light touch” or otherwise. That is governed by the EU via the European Capital Requirements Directive. The bad regulation that you as a taxpayer are now paying for is bad EU regulation.

  • Alias

    *capital ratios*

  • Wilde Rover

    So Enda’s bacon was saved by votes from the Seanad, the very institution that he intends to abolish.

    This would be delightfully ironic if it weren’t just another banana skin in the tragic-comedy that is Irish politics.

    I weep for future generations.

    (But, as Alias says, this is all just window dressing and the real decisions are taken elsewhere)

  • Joe

    Bruton lost this contest rather than Kenny winning it.

    Firstly, Bruton squirmed somewhat as the news broke, seemingly taken off guard, unsure how to handle the media intrusion. He should have realised this was the moment to pounce, but he seemed nervous. Rabbit in headlights stuff. Media savvy is critical so thats a poor start, 1-0 Kenny.

    After that, Bruton was on the backfoot throughout and his body language/voice tone reflected that – shrill and defensive, playing catchup. Kenny was weak right up until the heave began, but Bruton out-weaked him.

    Kenny seemed cool, calm and colllected. Relaxed body language, dulcet tones. Ironically for Bruton, these are *actual* leadership qualities.

    All in all, Bruton’s main point of attack was that Kenny was a poor ‘leader’, but he needed to back that up by looking/acting like one himself. He didn’t do that. All Kenny ultimately needed to do was turn up and not do anything stupid.

    It was Bruton’s to win but he blew it. C’est la vie.