No vacancy in taoiseach job: Lenihan

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan says he has not been approached to challenge the leadership of Brian Cowen and that he wants to get on with his own job, RTE reports.

Speaking at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin, Lenihan repeated that there was no vacancy for the job of taoiseach. He said Cowen had his full support.

Lenihan said he has no interest in rumblings about the leadership of Fianna Fáil, saying he is only interested in rumblings on world financial markets.

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The minister said the issue of the Fianna Fáil leadership “does not arise at present'” and he said he has not been contacted by any party backbenchers on the issue.

He added that the Taoiseach has already apologised for a Morning Ireland interview recently and the matter is now closed.

Unease within Fianna Fáil about Brian Cowen's continued leadership is showing no sign of abating, following the taoiseach's “Morning Ireland” interview last week.

At the weekend, junior minister Conor Lenihan said Cowen needed to show leadership, following what he called the “damaging” interview.

However, speaking on today's "Morning Ireland," Longford-Westmeath TD Mary O'Rourke repeated that the question of a vacancy did not arise, unless Cowen decided otherwise.

She said backbenchers believed it was up to senior party members if they wanted to challenge the Taoiseach, but there was no appetite among the backbenches for a General Election.

She said “most people think that a heave is unwarranted. They don't want to see that happening.'

“Neither do they want to lose their seats and that's the fear that's gripping many people,” she said.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe has insisted that there were no questions about the Taoiseach's leadership among his cabinet colleagues.

Speaking this morning in Cork, O'Keeffe accepted that Brian Cowen's performance was still a focus of media attention and it had to be dealt with.

However, he said, he saw Brian Cowen continuing into the long term