Enda Kenny wants to be Taoiseach after 2021 General Election - Paul Kehoe
Enda Kenny hopes to lead the country as Taoiseach into the 2020s after winning the 2021 election, a source close to him has revealed.
Government chief Whip Paul Kehoe said that Mr Kenny has no intention of giving up the party head position, which will come as a blow to leadership rivals Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney.
In another blow to the aspiring politicians, Mr Kehoe said that their are many people who would be in line for the role of Taoiseach if Mr Kenny was to depart.
Enda Kenny has been leader of Fine Gael since 2002 and has been a TD for 30 years, but Mr Kehoe said that he has no plans on retiring any time soon.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Kehoe said that the Taoiseach will continue his leadership into the 2020s if elected.
"I believe Enda Kenny, if he is returned as Taoiseach after the next general election, will serve another five years and more," he said.
My Kenny has only mentioned once an ambition to stay as Taoiseach into the 2020s: in 2013 when asked if he wanted to remain in power beyond 2020, Mr Kenny replied: 'Yes, of course."
However, a senior source within Fine Gael told the Irish Examiner that it would be best if Mr Kenny was retired as leader after the next general election.
"I do not think the 'endless Enda' idea is a runner," said the source.
"I'd give him two years if we win the election, then it would be best to try and park him in Phoenix Park."
Mr Kehoe also said that there were a number hopefuls for the Fine Gael leadership should Mr Kenny depart.
"There's an awful lot of other people who aspire to be in the office of the Taoiseach," he said.
"I would say that there are even more than Simon and Leo that would aspire to be Taoiseach of this country."
When questioned on the upcoming election the chief whip ruled out any post-election pact with Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin or Independents.
"I think the Irish people will be given two possible coalitions after the next general election," he said.
"You are either going to have Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin or the Fine Gael and Labour government.
"The most obvious partner for Fianna Fáil at this stage is Sinn Féin, both of them are singing off the same hymn sheet," he said.
The general election is due to be held early in 2016 but there is speculation that it could be called as early as November of this year.