Lenihan insists he plans to run in next election
FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan last night dispelled speculation that he may not run in the General Election by vowing to fight to keep his Dail seat.
Mr Lenihan had yet to say if he would run again, despite being one of a number of possible contestants for the leadership of Fianna Fail if Taoiseach Brian Cowen steps down.
The Dublin West TD has been battling cancer since last year but he insists he is in good health.
"Of course I'm running at the next General Election, a convention has been called in January in my constituency," Mr Lenihan told RTE's 'Six-One News'.
Fianna Fail is expecting a raft of TDs to stand down at the election, with Justice Minister Dermot Ahern the first heavy-hitter to announce his retirement this week.
Longford-Westmeath TD Mary O'Rourke, Mr Lenihan's aunt, has said she would support the Finance Minister for the party leadership if his health could bear it.
Ms O'Rourke is looking for a special meeting of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party to be held in the first few days of January to discuss the leadership issue.
It has been speculated within the party that Mr Cowen may step down after the Budget is passed and before the election, but he has said he intends to lead the party to the polls.
Ms O'Rourke has written to Government Chief Whip John Curran asking for the meeting but has yet to meet with him one-on-one to discuss her proposal.