Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney only contenders for position of taoiseach

Vincent Carr
May 19, 2017

Simon Coveney hailed Mr Kenny as "a towering figure in modern Irish history" who took over Fine Gael when the party was "broken and demoralised".

He added that he will support Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar in his leadership bid - minutes after rival Simon Coveney launched his election campaign.

A day after Enda Kenny stepped down as leader of Fine Gael, the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has announced that he will not be contesting the next General Election.

Standing outside the party's headquarters this morning, he said he wanted to heal the divisions that have opened in Ireland over the last decade.

The two challengers were left to fight it out as Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Education Minister Richard Bruton ruled themselves out of the race.

Junior minister and Galway West TD Seán Kyne says more support from within the cabinet is on the way. Leo Varadkar is the man to lead us in this charge.

Minister Coveney and Senator McFadden pictured in AIT earlier this year.

Len McCluskey 'confident' that opinion polls will start to turn for Labour
However, let's be clear - what we will be putting over is the type of leader Jeremy will be, and people will respect him, I think. He suggested winning 200 seats - almost 30 fewer than in 2015 - would be a "successful" result for Mr Corbyn.

"I believe our party, with Leo Varadkar as leader, will attract a stronger vote in the higher population areas".

Meanwhile the Irish finance minister Michael Noonan has announced he is set to retire from politics at the next election.

Minister McHugh said he believed Minister Varadkar would be an outstanding leader of the country who understood issues affecting people right across the State and in particular Inishowen, having worked as a junior doctor in Carndonagh.

Mr Kenny's successor is due to be elected by the parliamentary party, rank-and-file members and councillors on June 2 with the new leader to be voted in as taoiseach in the Dail in subsequent days. "Ireland is the fastest-growing economy in Europe, the budget is nearly balanced and we are on the cusp of full employment", he said.

Mr Coveney's camp later claimed to have the support of 90% of the councillors in Cork and Kerry.

He also said he will not stand for reelection as a member of parliament.

While Noonan and Kenny have been widely praised for their management of the economy, their Fine Gael party lost a quarter of its seats at elections a year ago as voters complained they were not feeling the recovery.

Other reports by BadHub

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