'I want Enda Kenny to serve a second term as Taoiseach', says Leo Varadkar
HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar said he would support Enda Kenny serving another term as Taoiseach in an apparent echoing of remarks made by the Government's Chief Whip Paul Kehoe.
Mr Varadkar said he believes Mr Kenny is doing a "phenomenal job" and that he hopes Mr Kenny leads country for up to another five years.
The remarks came just days after Chief Whip Paul Kehoe sparked annoyance within Fine Gael for suggesting that Mr Kenny will serve until 2021 and even beyond.
Senior Fine Gael sources believe the claim "smacks of arrogance", adding that they expect Mr Kenny to call on Fine Gael ministers to avoid such statements in the future.
But Mr Varadkar had no hesitation when asked if he wants Mr Kenny to serve a second term as Taoiseach, despite reports he is prepared to step down mid-way through the next Government.
"Enda's done a phenomenal job as Taoiseach," Mr Varadkar said.
"We've turned the economy around, we're in a much better place than we were four years ago. There'll be an election next spring. I really hope in the interest of the country that people re-elect the Government and re-elect Enda Kenny as Taoiseach and that he serves a full second term."
The Dublin West TD was coy on his own leadership ambitions and refused to rule out seeking to succeed Mr Kenny. "There is so much that could happen between now and then. Ask me that question when it arises," Mr Varadkar said.
"There's a lot of talent in Fine Gael, a, lot of ministerial colleagues who are very competent and there is also a lot of new people who are coming through as well," he added.
Mr Varadkar said that he is completely focused on his department workload which he described as "tough".
"I'm totally engrossed in Health - maybe in the future but not now."
He said he is concentrating on the development of the Children's Hospital and the improvement of Ireland's health service.
"Every day there's a new challenge, which means that you can't spend time on the long-term strategic stuff," he told RTE.