Enda Kenny is the new leader of the Fine Gael parliamentary party. The Mayo TD was elected by a secret ballot this afternoon.

The 51-year-old Castlebar man has been a TD since 1975 when he succeeded his father, Henry Kenny, in a by-election. He has held various offices within the party as well as serving as Minister of Tourism under John Bruton.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Kenny declared the mourning period for Fine Gael was now over and the party would now get up off the floor and demonstrate it was a political force to be reckoned with.

Mr Kenny said he had not yet made a decision about his deputy leader or his front bench but would be announcing these appointments in due course.

The Mayo TD was chosen over Richard Bruton, Phil Hogan and Gay Mitchell.

Meanwhile, former Fine Gael leader, Alan Dukes, who lost his seat in the general election, has confirmed he is to leave active politics. Mr Dukes, who is 57, says he will not contest the upcoming Seanad elections nor will he stand in any future general elections.

However, Mr Dukes told the Kildare Nationalist newspaper that he will remain as vice-president of Fine Gael. The former Minister for Finance is now moving into consultancy work on matters relating to the EU and economic policy.