FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan insists he is in good health and has the energy required to lead Fianna Fail out of the doldrums.
In December 2009, Mr Lenihan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and needed intensive treatment.
But he insisted yesterday he could lead Fianna Fail into the election and rebuild the party after what is expected to be a battering at the polls.
The 51-year-old said he had been working in the Department of Finance during the most demanding period since the foundation of the State, which showed he was up to the task of leading a political party.
He undertook "comprehensive treatment" in the first six months of last year and his tumour has reduced in size.
Mr Lenihan said he is still on a low-maintenance treatment programme, as is usual for his condition.
"I'm more than up to the demands of this electoral campaign," he said. "I am confident I have the energy and stamina to meet the physical and mental demands of the position of leader. I have recently been reassured by my medical advisers in that regard.
"My tumour has reduced substantially, my energy levels are restored. I am immensely grateful to the Irish people for the good will and support they've shown me during my illness."