DUBLIN, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Wednesday evening that he will deal with the contentious party leadership issue shortly after his return from the U.S. visit.
At the parliamentary party meeting of Fine Gael (United Ireland Party), Kenny gave a short speech on his future as party leader, saying that he will outline his intentions "effectively and conclusively" shortly after his return from the United States.
But he didn't outline a specific departure date at the meeting. Kenny has led the party since 2002.
The Irish Taoiseach has come under increasing pressure in the wake of the police whistleblower controversy. The opposition party Sinn Fein said Kenny's government is not capable of dealing with the issues around police whistleblower Maurice McCabe and that a general election is needed.
Kenny survived a no-confidence motion in parliament tabled by the opposition last week, but he is now facing a party leadership challenge.
In recent days, a handful of backbench Fine Gael TDs (members of parliament) have called for him to stand aside as party leader. The Taoiseach himself has already said he will not lead Fine Gael into the next general election.
As a major part of this year's St. Patrick's Day Program of the Ministerial Travel, Kenny is to travel to Washington D.C., where he will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders between March 15 and 16. He will also visit New York between March 17 and 18.
St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday celebrated internationally on March 17. It is named after Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland.