Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out resigning after his government suffered a resounding thumping in Ireland’s general election.
With the Republic’s political future in disarray and several coalition combinations on the table, the Fine Gael leader refused to be drawn on the prospect of a pact with traditional adversaries Fianna Fail.
“It is a position that one never likes to be in but I want to make it clear that I expect that the Fine Gael party will be a large bloc in the next Oireachtas (parliament),” he said.
“From that point of view, my responsibility as Taoiseach is to work to see that our country has a stable government and that has a government that can continue the progress that we have made over the last number of years in bringing the benefits of a recovering economy to all our people.”
Kenny, who had a 30-seat majority after the 2011 election, admitted the election result was disappointing.
“Democracy is always exciting but it is merciless when it clicks in,” he said.
The Taoiseach faced questions over his leadership as Fine Gael are set to lose about 30 seats and the outgoing partnership with Labour is staring at a humiliating defeat.
Kenny suggested a second election was not on the cards and he believed a new coalition could be formed despite one of the most fractious results in history.
“I’d like to think that it could be possible, given the final results, to be able to put a government together that could work through the many challenges we have,” he said.
Among the coalition’s biggest casualties were Alex White, Labour’s outgoing minister for communications, energy and natural resources, and Alan Shatter, the former Fine Gael justice minister, who were both defeated in Dublin Rathdown.