Europe

Enda Kenny 'to address leadership issue' at party meeting

Enda Kenny Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Enda Kenny's leadership has been undermined after criticism of his handling of a series of police scandals

The taoiseach (Irish prime minister) is expected to clarify his political future on Wednesday night after months of speculation that he is to step down.

Enda Kenny, who has been taoiseach for six years, is set to address questions over his leadership at a meeting of his Fine Gael parliamentary party later.

The 66-year-old has been under pressure to resign from factions within his own party dissatisfied with his leadership.

But his department has confirmed his travel plans as taoiseach for June.

Irish public service broadcaster, RTÉ, has reported that Mr Kenny will lead a two-day trade mission to the United States early next month.

It said he is also due to attend a World War One commemoration in Belgium as taoiseach in June.

Mr Kenny's leadership has been undermined after criticism of his handling of a series of scandals involving An Garda Síochána (Irish police).

A number of inquiries are under way, after allegations that senior officers tried to smear a whistleblower who raised concerns over corruption in how motorists' penalty points were being recorded.

In February, there had been speculation that Mr Kenny would face a motion of no confidence from his own party.

However, that was avoided after he said he would deal with the question of his leadership "effectively and conclusively" after the St Patrick's Day celebrations in March.

Irish media have been speculating for months on the leadership ambitions of his potential successors.

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