Updated: 20/02/17 : 11:51:48
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Taoiseach should announce step-down on Wednesday - Dukes

Former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes hopes Enda Kenny will announce his intention to step down as Taoiseach on Wednesday and allow the election of a new Fine Gael leader to begin.

"I'd like him to say he will stand down at a given time from the presidency of Fine Gael and that when an election has taken place he will stand down as Taoiseach," he told Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1.

"The electoral process in Fine Gael takes some three weeks so a period around that would be appropriate."

Dukes would like that process to begin this week.

"I think we are at the point now where as I say it’s inevitable it seems to me that there would be a change in leadership and the only question then is how we handle that with the greatest respect to Enda for whom I feel personally very supportive and very sorry that he is in this position but that it is carried out in such a way that does the least damage to Fine Gael and gives the best starting point to the next leader.

"Up to now the process has been extremely untidy."

Dukes added that an outgoing Taoiseach could "perhaps be more direct" when visiting the White House in March.

Funny jokes

Meanwhile Simon Harris says telling funny jokes is not one of the Minister for Foreign Affairs' best attributes.

His remark comes after a leaked WhatsApp message from Charlie Flanagan suggested Harris wants out of the Department of Health over the weekend.

Minister Flanagan has since clarified the remark, saying it was tongue-in-cheek.

It follows days of speculation over when the Taoiseach intends to stand down as leader of Fine Gael.

Speaking to Midlands 103 this morning Minister Harris says he is not going anywhere yet.

"Well my colleague Charlie Flanagan has many fine attributes, he's a great colleague of mine, but to make funny jokes on a Sunday afternoon is clearly not one of them.

"I'm absolutely honoured to hold this position. People can say what they like about me but I would hope even my harshest critics would acknowledge that I'm doing everything I can in this role and that I'm trying to engage with the role with an energy and enthusiasm that I think is befitting of the role."