Irish Prime Minister to Leave Fine Gael Party by Early June

Lena Tucker
May 20, 2017

It's as there's been a groundswell of support in the west and northwest for Minister Leo Varadkar to succeed Enda Kenny.

At the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, participants gave a long standing ovation to Kenny, praising him for his remarkable service to the country and party.

Mr Donohoe said it is a matter for the next taoiseach whether he would have a Cabinet role, refusing to say whether he would seek the role of Minister for Finance.

Earlier, Ministers Donohoe and Charlie Flanagan declared their backing for Mr Varadkar in the Fine Gael leadership race.

Speaking to Cork's 96 FM News, the Minister for European Affairs said: "I've worked and known Simon Coveney for many years, and I think he's got the qualities we need at this time to lead the country".

Deputy Peter Burke released a statement at lunchtime today announcing his support for Minister Varadkar in the leadership contest.

The governing centre-right party's new leader will be in place by the end of 2 June, Kenny said. It said 13 backed Coveney.

He said he did not see any major failings with Minister Varadkar and his choice was more down to Minister Coveney's attributes and work in the past.

"He also was part of reducing the Value-Added Tax rate for the hospitality sector, if you talk to any hotelier or anyone in the hospitality sector and they'll say that's one of the major reasons they can attract overseas visitors to Ireland".

His rival Simon Coveney, 44, fits the more traditional profile of a Fine Gael leader and is steeped in politics.

"I don't think that a family living in a hotel room this evening is looking for a Taoiseach (prime minister) with an X-factor", Coveney told reporters at his campaign launch, referring to the housing crisis Kenny's successor will inherit.

The contest is decided by an electoral college with the parliamentary party worth 65% of the total vote, rank-and-file members accounting for 25% and 235 local representatives making up the remaining 10% of the vote.

"He's been an MEP, he's been Minister for Agriculture, he's an excellent negotiator who had negotiated for Ireland in Europe in the past, and I think that's what we need".

Justice minister Frances Fitzgerald and education minister Richard Bruton may also run for the leadership.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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