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Lenihan rejects claims he will step down in new year

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has no intention of stepping down next January, the Sunday Independent learnt yesterday.

There was considerable speculation in political circles yesterday that a report would appear in a British-based newspaper today saying that Mr Lenihan would quit his post early in the new year.

"This is entirely without foundation," a source close to the minister said yesterday. "He has no intention of stepping down in January."

Mr Lenihan, who was diagnosed with cancer last December, has appeared to be in robust form recently, carrying out a huge workload with energy and resolution. Last week, he attended a highly important meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington.

Sources close to the minister said yesterday that they believed a British-based newspaper would publish the story today. Mr Lenihan has always tried to respond candidly to questions about his health. Throughout 2010, there have been many unsubstantiated rumours surrounding the minister's position, these may have been wrongly fuelled last week after Mr Lenihan cancelled a high-profile speaking engagement scheduled for last night in Kenmare,Co Kerry, where he was due to address the Dublin Economic Workshop.

However, Mr Lenihan decided to cancel the engagement after the death of his uncle Patrick (Paddy) Lenihan, a brother of his late father Brian and his aunt, senator Mary O'Rourke.

Mr Lenihan wanted to spend as much time as possible with his family in Athlone. He will be back at work on Tuesday.

Sunday Independent