Two more years: Kenny to cling on until 2018
Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30
Enda Kenny now intends to continue as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael "for at least another two years", Fine Gael ministers have been told.
Senior party sources last night confirmed that Mr Kenny has now signalled a 2018 departure - in a move that will cause alarm among backbenchers who want him replaced by the spring at the latest.
It is the first time details of an exit strategy have been revealed since Mr Kenny announced that this will be his final term as Taoiseach.
During a private session at the Fine Gael think-in in Newbridge, Co Kildare, Mr Kenny said he is "just months in" as a second-term Taoiseach.
"And I have no intention of going anywhere," sources say he told the meeting. One minister last night said it was made "clear" by Mr Kenny's inner circle that he intends to resist any attempt to oust him.
Earlier, Mr Kenny told reporters: "I have a mandate and I'm not going to walk away from that mandate." And in a clear bid to reassert his authority, Mr Kenny signalled plans for a reshuffle next year.
The think-in itself was dominated by talk about the Budget and the prospect of Independent Alliance Minister John Halligan quitting the Government.