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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny congratulating Deputy Dara Murphy on the opening of his new constituency office at Camden Quay in 2011. Picture: Billy macGill
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny congratulating Deputy Dara Murphy on the opening of his new constituency office at Camden Quay in 2011. Picture: Billy macGill
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Dara Murphy TD: Now not the time for Kenny to go

NOW is the not the time for Enda Kenny to step down as Taoiseach, according to Cork TD Dara Murphy.

Mr Murphy, the Junior Minister for European Affairs, has backed Mr Kenny to remain as leader of the government and his party for the foreseeable future. 

It follows reports of a collapse in support for the Taoiseach in Fine Gael, with a number of backbench TDs calling for a change in leadership.

It is widely believed that Mr Kenny's time as leader of the party is coming to an end, though he has yet to confirm a specific timeframe.

Mr Murphy has backed the Taoiseach to remain in the role for the foreseeable future amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the Sgt Maurice McCabe smear allegations.

He said, "One or two backbench Fine Gael TDs have made particular comments about a process for the future of the party.

"I am very clear, there is a Confidence and Supply deal (with Fianna Fáil) that has been agreed and has a few years to run."

Mr Murphy said that stability is key for the government in tackling the issues emerging in recent months.

"This is absolutely not the time to be changing government or the party leader," he said.

"And, absolutely, the majority of the parliamentary party of Fine Gael supports Enda Kenny as leader."

The Cork North Central TD said that the focus must turn to the inquiry into the allegations surround the smear campaign against Maurice McCabe.

"We have gotten, maybe, distracted in the Dáil in recent days by these questions, but what is important now is that we get this process started so that we can get answers for Sgt McCabe and his family."

Mr Murphy's support comes as the in-fighting in Fine Gael continues to grow.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohue last week ruled himself out of a leadership battle, but it is understood that several senior ministers are urging him to reconsider.

Backbench TD Alan Farrell last week publicly called on the Taoiseach to step down, describing his position as 'untenable.'

Mr Farrell's statement has been met with criticism by party members, though, with Simon Coveney, believed to be among the most likely replacements for Mr Kenny, suggesting that it was 'the wrong time for this type of intervention.'