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Take me to your leader
As the General Election looms, many polls suggest Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is the next Taoiseach in waiting. So what is he really like? And where does he stand on the issues that matter to Hot Press readers?
Jason O'Toole, 08 May 2007
Would you go into coalition with Sinn Fein?
No. We will not be sharing power with Sinn Fein. I have given credit to Sinn Fein for the leadership they have shown in Northern Ireland, with de-commissioning, and all of that. I am glad they now accept peace and get on with the assembly. Obviously, there are things here that are not cleared up at all – the consequences of the Northern Ireland bank raid, the murder of Joseph Rafferty here in Dublin, and all of these things. Sinn Fein is an elected party here; their representatives are entitled to be elected by the people – but not for me.
What about Fianna Fáil?
That may happen down the line, but not just now. Obviously, Fine Gael were in government with the Labour Party in the ‘70s, the ‘80s and the ‘90s – and we are going to be in government with them again shortly. They are our natural allies over the four decades.
What about the Greens?
I was asked the question before – which would be my preference after the elections, the Greens or the PDs? – and I said the Greens, because the PDs set out to be an independent party going into the election and then married themselves to Fianna Fáil. I think there is a great measure of disappointment, particularly at the Tánaiste, who seems to have changed direction in aligning the PDs up completely with Fianna Fáil. They have made their decision and are contesting the election with Fianna Fáil – and that’s it. They are in trouble in a number of constituencies – absolutely.
Is there not a danger that, in partnership with Labour and the Greens, Fine Gael will end up pursuing policies completely inimical to what the basic Fine Gael membership expects.
The green issue hasn’t just become important because of the Green Party. All of this is related to the Stern report, Al Gore’s business, the United Nations report – climate change in general. We set out very clear policy positions about fuels and bio energy, incentives for farmers to get energy producing crops; abolition of excess duty on bio diesel; lower VRT for more fuel efficient vehicles, and all of that kind of thing. So, I wouldn’t foresee any great, complex issues in there on the Green agenda. But the Green party themselves have said: ‘We are going into the elections as an independent group – and we’ll decide afterwards.’ And I respect that decision.