Recovery Under Enda Kenny
However, under its new leader, Fine Gael staged a recovery in local and European elections held on 11 June 2004, becoming the largest Irish party in the European Parliament by winning 5 seats (compared to just 4 seats for the ruling Fianna Fáil party), while it came within 9 seats of becoming the largest party in local government. The recovery for Fine Gael was complete when it gained 20 seats at the 2007 general election. The party entered into an electoral alliance with the Labour in Mullingar during 2005, the "Alliance For Change". This election, however, did not bring Fine Gael back into power. In the Local Elections of 2009, Fine Gael surpassed Fiannna Fáil, gaining over 40 seats and bringing the total up to 340 compared to Fianna Fáil's 180. At European level, Fine Gael is the largest party and won the Dublin South by-election with George Lee sweeping to victory with over 54% of the vote and just missing out on a seat in Dublin Central with Pascal Dohohue, although Lee later resigned from his position after only nine months due to having "virtually no influence or input" into shaping Fine Gael's economic policies. In 2010, opinion polls had Labour ahead of Fine Gael with Fianna Fail's collapse in the votes not transferring to FG. Deputy Leader Richard Bruton along with 9 of the FG Frontbench challenged Enda Kenny for the leadership. In a bitter battle, Enda Kenny won the confidence vote of the party and set about healing the wounds. He reappointed Richard Bruton to the front bench along with bringing Michael Noonan back into the front bench as Spokesman on Finance. The arrival of the IMF to bail out the countries finances in November of that year saw FF implode. FG with strong performances from Noonan and his team of Deputy's saw FG support rise heading into the general election which was called in Fen of 2011. Enda Kenny many believed had a terrific campaign and the question now could FG get an overall majority. When the votes were counted FG fell short with an historic seat total of 76 seats. FF vote collapsed to 20 seats. A new government was formed with Labour under the leadership of Enda Kenny as taoiseach. He had led the party from the abyss to the greatest victory in their history and now had the largest party in the state.
Fine Gael Mayor of Naas Darren Scully resigned on 22 November 2011 over comments on live radio about the "aggressive attitude" of "black Africans". Former Labour TD Moosajee Bhamjee, Ireland's first Muslim TD, said Scully's remarks represented the "beginning of official racism" in Ireland and described them as "enlightenment" for the "small neo-Nazi following in this country".
Read more about this topic: History Of Fine Gael
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“Its even pleasant to be sick when you know that there are people who await your recovery as they might await a holiday.”
—Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (18601904)