CORK South West Fine Gael TD Jim Daly refused to pin his colours to the mast as the party leadership battle began, hours after Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would be stepping down.
Deputy Daly wished Mr Kenny and his family well for the future and said that history would be very kind to the outgoing leader of 15 years.The Taoiseach said he would be stepping down from midnight on Wednesday.
‘Mr Kenny has done the party and the country an enormous service, especially in the last six years when he oversaw the rescuing of our country from the brink of collapse,’ said Deputy Daly.
‘His tenure, however, has come to end, as stated by himself. The party was in a very vulnerable position, having no leader in place for any future election, which could come about at any time,’ he told The Southern Star.
Jim Daly, who is widely know to be a strong supporter of Leo Varadkar, added that he will confirm who he is supporting in the leadership contest once nominations close and all candidates have declared.
Leadership contender Minister Varadkar said that the Taoiseach had been ‘an extraordinary Taoiseach and the party’s most successful leader ever. After decades of service to our party and country, we owe him a debt of gratitude.’
Minister Coveney said he was proud to have served in opposition and then in government with Enda. ‘I saw at close quarters how skilled and driven he was to succeed,’ he said.
Fianna Fáil Leader Michael Martin commented: ‘While over the years we have had our differences on many political and policy issues, I have always appreciated Enda’s decency, good humour and approachability.’
A new Fine Gael leader will be announced on Friday, June 2nd.