Enda Kenny

From Academic Kids

Enda Kenny (born April 24, 1951) is an Irish politician. He is a Teachta Dála for Mayo West and the current leader of Fine Gael. He is also effectively the Leader of the Opposition in Dáil Éireann. Kenny has previously served as Minister for Tourism & Trade (1994–1997) and as a junior Minister under FitzGerald.

Enda Kenny was born in Castlebar, County Mayo and was educated in Castlebar, St. Patrick's Teacher Training College, Drumcondra & University College Galway. He qualified as a Primary School Teacher. Kenny has represented the people of Mayo in Dáil Éireann since 1975 when he was first elected in a by-election following the death of his father, Henry Kenny. He has been elected at nine consecutive elections since then as a Fine Gael TD. Kenny is married with three children.

In the mid-1980s, he was a member of the Fine Gael delegation at the New Ireland Forum and later served on the British Irish Parliamentary Association. Under Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald he served as Minister of State at the Department of Education & Labour from 1986 until 1987. During his period as a TD he has served as party spokesperson on Education, Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands, Western Development and Youth Affairs and Sport.

Kenny negotiated, on behalf of Fine Gael, the Programme for Government with the Labour and Democratic Left parties prior to the formation of the Rainbow Coalition Government in 1994. Under Taoiseach John Bruton he was appointed Minister for Tourism & Trade in 1994. During his tenure as Minister he oversaw an unprecedented growth in tourism business and Ireland's trade position internationally. As Minister he also chaired the European Union Council of Trade Ministers during Ireland's Presidency of the European Council.

In 2001 Kenny was defeated by Michael Noonan for the leadership of the Fine Gael Party. However after the disastrous performance of the party in the 2002 General Election Noonan resigned immediately. In June of 2002 Kenny was elected the Leader of Fine Gael. Under his leadership, the Fine Gael party has become a more united entity, and have experienced electoral success in the 2004 Local and European elections, which saw Fine Gael increase it representation from 4 MEPs of 15 from Ireland, to 5 from 13. This was the first time Fine Gael beat Fianna Fail in a national election since 1927. Much of the credit for this has been given to Enda Kenny's leadership. Political pundits have noted that Kenny's confidence and parliamentary performances have greatly improved in the wake of his electoral successes.

Under Kenny the Fine Gael Party has also agreed to enter a pre-election pact with the Labour Party in an attempt to offer the electorate an alternative coalition government at the 30th Irish general election, expected to take place in 2007.

Under Enda Kenny's leadership the Fine Gael party has defined itself as a party of the progressive centre developing policies relating to value for money, consumer rights, civil partnerships, reform of public spending and developing health care policy. The party has retaken its mantle as a law and order party committed to defending the institutions of the state. The party appears to be on course to at least regain many of the seats it lost during its disastrous election result in 2002.

Kenny is married with three children.

Preceded by:
Charlie McCreevy
Minister for Tourism & Trade
Succeeded by:
Jim McDaid
Preceded by:
Michael Noonan
Leader of the Fine Gael Party
Succeeded by:
Current Incumbent

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