FORMER Fine Gael election guru Frank Flannery is set to be brought back into the party fold by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Mr Flannery resigned as Fine Gael's director of elections and party trustee last March in the wake of controversy over his role as a board member with the Rehab Group, where he previously served as chief executive.
But Mr Kenny has now held talks with Mr Flannery about returning in what is believed to be a senior role on the party's election committee.
The pair met in the Cellar Bar of the Merrion Hotel, across from Government Buildings, last week. It came just weeks after Mr Kenny described Mr Flannery as a "friend" and said he would be happy to meet him for a coffee.
No agreement was reached on Mr Flannery's return or in what capacity, but Fine Gael sources believe it will be finalised soon.
Mr Flannery is believed to be open to returning.
"That is not yet determined. But it is certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility. It is a distinct possibility," a source said.
Fine Gael sources were not surprised to hear of Mr Kenny's meeting with Mr Flannery as the Taoiseach needs to strengthen his strategy team ahead of the general election.
"There is a lot of pressure being put on him that he does bring back Frank Flannery in some capacity," a source said.
In a pre-Christmas media briefing, Mr Kenny spoke positively about Mr Flannery.
"I always regard Frank Flannery as a friend of mine, and he still is. You know friends can differ over different things now and again," he said.
A Government spokesman declined to confirm last week's meeting took place, but pointed to Mr Kenny's comments before Christmas.