The Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, has said that, following consultation with his doctors and the Taoiseach, he plans to remain in office.

There had been intense speculation about Mr Lenihan's condition since it was reported just after Christmas that he had been diagnosed with cancer.

In a statement today, Mr Lenihan said tests before Christmas had identified a blockage at the entrance to his pancreas, and cancerous tissue had been identified in the material which caused the blockage. His pancreas is now functioning normally. The Minister said he would need chemotherapy and possibly radiotherapy, and treatment would begin later this week.

Read the full statement here

The Minister said he was feeling 'fit and well' and would continue to fulfil the essential functions of his office, though he would not be accepting invitations for speaking engagements for the next few months.

Mr Lenihan said his doctors had advised him that he was fit to continue his ministerial duties. 'If that position were to change in the course of my treatment, I would be the first to recognise it, ' he added. Mr Lenihan said he did not intend to issue any further statements on the issue. He also thanked those who had sent him messages of support.