The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, has claimed that the Government has lost its way and that people have become tired of what he said was the coalition’s inability to deliver first class services.

Mr Kenny was speaking at a special two-day meeting of his parliamentary party in Portlaoise, Co Laois, to prepare for the new Dáil term.

The Fine Gael leader claimed there was a creeping fatigue in the people’s attitude to the Government and that his party had built a solid platform on which to challenge it.

Mr Kenny was due to brief TDs and Senators on what he described as the developing relationship between Fine Gael and Labour.

And in what will be seen as a nod to the Green Party, Mr Kenny singled out alternative energy as an area with huge potential.

Responding to earlier remarks from the Minister for Justice, Michael Mc Dowell, Mr Kenny said the PDs were now a seamless part of the coalition locked into the same failure rate as Fianna Fáil and it was his intention to remove them from government.    

Discussions at the two-day meeting were expected to focus on health, crime and the economy, with the party buoyed up by recent encouraging opinion poll results.

Last night, 30-year-old councillor Paschal Donoghue was returned as the party's candidate to contest the Taoiseach's seat in Dublin Central.

The scheduling of the party's first selection convention was seen as a move to focus attention on the next General Election.

Speakers at the meeting were to include the Health Service Executive chief, Professor Brendan Drumm, and broadcaster David McWilliams.