Enda Kenny's Victory Speech - Irish General Election 2011
On 23 February 2011 opinion polls suggest that Kenny would lead Fine Gael to its largest total of seats to date in the 31st Dail, and that he would be elected Taoiseach. The count has yet to be completed but currently (21:00 27th. Feb. 2011) his party already has 70 seats so there is no doubting the fact that he will lead the next government here in the Republic of Ireland.
An opinion poll published in The Irish Times on 10 June 2010 triggered a challenge to Kenny's leadership of the party. The MRBI poll indicated that the Labour Party had become the most popular political party in the country for the first time ever, and also showed a drop in backing for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and for their leaders. It showed a five-point drop in Fianna Fáil support since January 2010, leaving that party on 17%, Fine Gael down four points to 28%, and Labour up eight points to 32%. Satisfaction with Kenny's leadership dropped 7% to 24%.
Following the failure of the party's deputy leader Richard Bruton to support him, he was dismissed by Kenny on 14 June. He also tabled a motion of confidence in his leadership, to be held on 17 June. On the following day it was revealed that nine members of the Fine Gael frontbench did not have confidence in Kenny to lead their party - composed of Simon Coveney, Denis Naughten, Olwyn Enright, Olivia Mitchell, Fergus O'Dowd, Michael Creed, Billy Timmins, Leo Varadkar and Brian Hayes. Denis Naughten said frontbench members did not have Kenny's support and would like him to withdraw his motion of confidence and stand down in the interest of the party.
The motion of confidence in Kenny was passed. He announced a major reshuffle of his party's front bench on 1 July 2010, re-appointing Bruton, Coveney, O'Dowd and Varadkar.