Education minister Mary Hanafin has attacked Enda Kenny's proposal to remove compulsory Irish for Leaving Cert students as 'opportunistic ill-conceived option politics.'

Ms Hanafin said that Irish has never been so well supported particularily with its recent elevation to official status in the EU.

Last night, the Fine Gael leader called for an end to compulsory Irish for Leaving Certificate students, to give the language a more positive image.

Mr Kenny was speaking ahead of the Fine Gael Annual Conference, which opens in Millstreet in Co Cork this morning.

The party is expected to unveil a number of new policies, as well as showcasing general election candidates.