Enda Kenny pledges new era of Irish government

Incoming Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged a new era of government focused on public duty not personal entitlement in a rousing address to jubilant supporters.

In an emotive speech to party faithful, he said the Irish people stood at a transformative moment in their history.

As Fine Gael stood poised to enter Government for the first time in 14 years, he promised an administration of compassion, generosity and hope.

"A new government that will be one of responsibility, not privilege, a government of public duty not personal entitlement, a government looking with confidence and courage to the future, not with guilt and regret at the past," he said.

Fresh from his poll-topping result in his Mayo constituency in the west of Ireland, Mr Kenny pledged to bring people closer to government.

And he vowed to restore the sense of integrity, worth and value in Ireland and claimed the new administration would not shirk its responsibility.

"We stand on the brink of fundamental change in how we regard ourselves, in how we regard our economy and in how we regard our society," he said.

The Fine Gael leader flew by helicopter from Mayo to Dublin before being greeted with near chaotic scenes at the Burlington Hotel by hundreds of supporters where he delivered a seven minute victory speech.

"We have to close the gap between government and the people, between politics and the people, because it is in that gap that the rot started and the rot flourished," he said.

He pledged to tackle emigration and said young people would no longer go abroad seeking work unless they chose to.

"We cannot have another generation of Irish building the futures of other countries," Mr Kenny said.

"For the next four years, let us be mindful of our duty and our responsibility during the period of the next government, and above all, in the midst of what is for many a national heartbreak, let us be mindful of each other."

The outgoing chief opposition leader said the new Government would be the hardest working of the last 50 years.

"On this spring day let us begin again to bring new life, new clarity, new shared purpose to Irish life, to Irish politics, and to the Irish future."

He added: "So let's lift our hearts up, and let's lift our chins up, because now we've been given a a responsibility and a mandate and let us not shirk in our duty to our people."