It is understood Taoiseach Enda Kenny told ministers at today's Cabinet meeting that he would be dealing with the Fine Gael leadership issue tomorrow, when a parliamentary party meeting is held.

Mr Kenny was responding to a question from Independent minister Finian McGrath who had raised what he said was the perception of instability at the moment arising from the uncertainty over Mr Kenny's intentions.

It is also understood Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan issued an apology to Minister for Health Simon Harris at the Fine Gael ministers' meeting before the Cabinet talks, regarding the WhatsApp debacle.

It was the first time that the Taoiseach met the two leading contenders to succeed him - Ministers Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney - since they both publicly commented on his leadership.

Mr Varadkar has said the current situation was distracting and destabilising for the Government, for Fine Gael and for the country. But he also said he had full confidence in the Taoiseach to "settle the matter".

Mr Coveney has said there should be an orderly, calm and a quick transition to a new leader following the Taoiseach's return from Washington next month.

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Arriving at Government Buildings this morning, Mr Harris said he fully trusted the Taoiseach's judgement and he would decide when is the best time in the interests of the country.

Asked if his age would be a barrier if he was to run for the leadership, Mr Harris said he had made no decision on it and people should be judged on their vision for the country "not an age on a birth cert".

Independent Alliance Minister of State Finian McGrath, meanwhile, has said the debate on the leadership of Fine Gael is an internal matter for the party. However, he said it is important it is concluded as quickly as possible.

Speaking on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live last night, Mr McGrath said he was expressing a personal view and that the leadership contest has nothing to do with his party. 

Mr McGrath also said he thinks there will definitely be three candidates and maybe a fourth.

He said he expects Mr Kenny to set out his position at today's Cabinet meeting and that the Fine Gael leadership transition may happen more rapidly than some expect.

Social Insurance Fund runs first surplus since 2007

Mr Varadkar will bring a memo to Cabinet which will confirm that the Social Insurance Fund finished 2016 with a surplus of €460m, the first surplus since 2007.

Most employers and employees pay PRSI contributions into the fund, which is used to pay for a wide range of benefits including Jobseekers' Benefit, Maternity Benefit and the Contributory State Pension.

The memo will also outline the challenges facing the fund due to changing demographics. 

Mr Varadkar is also due to launch a public consultation to determine what sort of additional benefits people would be interested in receiving in return for paying PRSI.