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Enda sees 2nd term after fixing 'mess'

Friday, January 24 14:58:15

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said his aim is become the first leader of his party to win two successive elections after clearing up an "unholy mess" in the economy he inherited from the previous government.

Fine Gael head Kenny is viewed as a candidate to succeed European Commission President Jose Barroso or European Union President Herman Van Rompuy, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said in November. Their terms end later this year.

Under Kenny, who took power in March 2011, Ireland in December, left the international bailout program it fell into just over three years ago. Last week, Moody's Investors Service restored Ireland to investment grade, dropping the junk rating it had placed on the credit in July 2011. Kenny is now pushing Europe to retrospectively refund the state a share of the cost of saving its financial system.

Ireland's debt is "still very high, therefore it makes us fragile," Kenny told Francine Lacqua and John Fraher in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Davos, Switzerland. "We need continued assistance."