Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that he has not had any discussions about a future role in Government and did not have any particular future plans once he steps down from the leadership role next week.

He was speaking to Irish media in Chicago where he completed his final trip to the United States as Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny said he would stay on as a TD until the Dáil was dissolved.

He also said that he would be meeting with new Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar upon his return from Brussels later this week and they would "have discussions".

He added that his advice to Mr Varadkar was "be not afraid" and that he would have his full support for whatever structure he would put on his new Government.

Mr Kenny said he was elected to be leader of Fine Gael fifteen years ago today and "it seemed so long ago".

He said the job had "required nine years of very high levels of activity to put a bit of courage back ingot be party, to give them a sense of belief in themselves, to fight to win the right to enter government".

The Mayo man also said that "a great deal of sacrifice" had been required from the Irish people and he was "happy on their behalf" that Ireland was now recognised as the fastest growing country in the European Union for the fourth year running.

He said the "new structure of government" had "no time to waste", and he urged them not to be afraid of the challenges that lay up ahead.

However, he warned that every action should be taken "in the interest fully and solely of the Irish people".

The Taoiseach said that he did not have any particular plans for the future other than to stay on as a deputy until the Dail was dissolved.

He said he hoped that Mr Varadkar would be elected as Taoiseach and that they he would "get on with the business of moving the country forward".

Mr Kenny said there were challenges up ahead but that he was "very happy" in himself "both personally as a citizen and as a politician" to move the responsibility on to the next generation". He said the foundations were now "very strong".

Asked if he was emotional to be on his last trip to the US, when one of his first trips as Taoiseach was to Chicago, he said "not really" and that he was "going to fly through the night" tonight to go to Brussels to attend the World War One centenary commemorative event at Messines.

He said 33,000 Irish, mostly young men, were involved and he found that "quite emotional".

He urged every Irish person to visit "Flanders and see those gravestones left and right as they travel through the small roads".

He said he would always remember "standing with [then] Prime Minister Cameron under the Peace Tower close to Messines and the local schoolchildren came out on a cold November's day. It went straight through me".

He said that "given our history and our tradition of fighting everybody else's wars peace should never be taken for granted. In a time of fragility now, not just at a European level, but worldwide, we can never forget the lessons of history, they're very important. As you go forward you have to learn from the past. If you don't understand what that history means then you are always entering into an unknown."