Enda Kenny’s leadership
On this evening’s Late Late Show, Ryan Tubridy challenged Enda Kenny on his leadership, given that the party is ahead in opinion polls of his own approval rating. He was right to assert that it is only the party figure that matters, and that it would be pointless were it the reverse. But he should probably have taken a moment to remind the viewers of what has happened under his leadership.
When he became leader in 2002, the party had just suffered its worst election since 1948. The party had just 31 TDs and some commentators wondered whether the party had a future. In 2007, the party won 51 seats, and now stands at 52, after the election of George Lee last June.
In 2004, Fine Gael came within 9 seats of Fianna Fáil in the local elections. Since the 2009 local elections, Fine Gael has outnumbered Fianna Fáil and Labour combined in city and county councils.
In 2004, and again in 2009, Fine Gael was the largest party of Ireland’s European seats.
Fine Gael looks set to become the largest party in the Dáil after the next election. This will be no small achievement, the first time the party will outpoll Fianna Fáil.
These are easy to grasp facts about his success as a leader. It explains his popularity within the party, and shows that he can deliver. I only wish he’d said something of that on air.