Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he expects Fine Gael to rise to the challenge of electing three TDs out of the four seats in the Mayo constituency in the next general election, which he said would be held early next year.

Speaking at his party's selection convention in Claremorris, the Taoiseach said this was a herculean task, but one that the party's strategy and team would be able to deliver on.

The Taoiseach, Minister of State Michael Ring and Deputy Michelle Mulheirn have been formally ratified as the Fine Gael candidates for the Mayo constituency.

The three were the only members to go before tonight's selection convention. 

Four Fine Gael deputies were returned to the Dáil in Mayo in 2011. Deputy John O'Mahony will contest the Galway West constituency in the next election.

Asked tonight about the party's ability to meet rules on gender balance with its candidates, Mr Kenny said Fine Gael expected to meet and surpass the gender quota.

He said the executive council of the party would look at all the constituencies when the selection conventions were over, and decide in the best interest of seats and vote management, what might be appropriate in terms of additions to any individual constituency.

Asked about the possible addition of former minister of state John Perry in Sligo-North Leitrim, Mr Kenny said he would not comment on that because that was part of the analysis the executive council would do.

The Taoiseach was asked again about the date of the election and he said it would be in "early 2016".

Responding to questions on the reported disagreement between the finance and environment ministers over the issue of housing, Mr Kenny said the issues that were being discussed by Michael Noonan and Alan Kelly were in the interest of dealing with the rent situation, but also with the supply situation.

Mr Kenny said whatever was done with rent would not increase the number of housing units by one, and the real challenge was in increasing that number.

He said the Government had to deal with the supply of houses and accommodation units in the first place.