Enda Kenny says he will contest the next general election
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told his support base in Mayo that he will contest the Republic of Ireland's next general election.
The dramatic intervention by Mr Kenny ahead of the budget came after it was reported that the Taoiseach’s local Fine Gael branch in Castlebar had established a committee to strategise for his departure.
However, on Sunday evening, Mr Kenny made the surprise announcement that he intended to run again at a Mayo constituency annual general meeting (AGM).
Junior Minister Michael Ring, who it is understood will also contest the next election, and Senator Michelle Mulherin were also at the meeting.
Until now, Mr Kenny has only said he will not contest the next election as Fine Gael leader but this is the first indication he has given that he intends to return to the Dail after the next national vote.
It was reported on Sunday the Fine Gael Castlebar district organisation set up a committee to decide on a candidate to replace Mr Kenny with the Taoiseach’s daughter Aoibhinn seen as the favourite.
However, a local Fine Gael source said the committee was set up to deal with local elections in three years’ time rather than Mr Kenny’s departure.
There has been widespread speculation within Fine Gael over when Mr Kenny will step down but he recently revealed he plans to stay in place for at least two more budgets.
Fine Gael rebels are anxious to see Mr Kenny step down as soon as possible and have indicated they will put a down motion of no confidence before the parliamentary party after the budget
However, Kenny’s supporters believe they have enough support within the party to win a motion of no confidence.