Concerns That Leadership Battle Is Overshadowing Important Issues

Concerns are being raised that any drawn-out process to elect a new Fine Gael leader could lead to inaction by government.

The issue has been raised by a local health advocate, and by an Independent cabinet Minister, just hours before Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to outline his future to his party colleagues.



This evening’s private Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting is slated to begin at 5:30pm, and shortly after that Enda Kenny’s future is expected to be known.

He’s due to inform his party’s TDs and Senators on his future intentions, as some of his most senior colleagues line up to replace him.

However, with the Taoiseach expected to stay on for at least another month, until after the St. Patrick’s Day Visit to Washington, and with any election likely to take three weeks, some are worried that this could see political attentions diverted to the leadership and away from other issues.

One of those is whether the government will fund orkambi for cystic fibrosis patients.

Negotiations on this have been ongoing for months, and CF Ireland members are hoping for a decision soon.

They’ve highlighted new evidence which shows the drug, though expensive, is even more effective then had been thought and hope this will strengthen their case.

However, Shannon man Kieran McCarthy, who is also on the National Executive Committee of CF Ireland, is concerned the eye could be taken off the ball.

The Communications Minister has aired similar concerns today, saying Enda Kenny should outline his position soon.

Denis Naughton fears the leadership battle will cloud government if not quickly resolved.

He insists clarity is needed.

But the Agriculture Minister says the leadership issue is a matter for the party and nobody else.

Michael Creed has rejected suggestions, that the speculation around what might happen has led to paralysis in government.

Minister Creed says people are getting on with their jobs.