Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Minister McHugh is backing Varadkar for leadership

Minister McHugh is backing Varadkar for leadership

The government narrowly survived a no confidence motion in February after Mr Kenny and some of his ministers were unable to answer questions relating to allegations that senior officers in Ireland's police force had engaged in a smear campaign against...

"One of the fundamental tenets of our democracy is a commitment to public service and the Taoiseach [PM] has more than fulfilled that obligation".

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said Mr Kenny "did his best from his perspective" but his "political legacy is dominated by crisis, chaos, and chronic lack of accountability".

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney are the front runners but others might put themselves forward.

"Under Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, we saw a devastated economy repaired, long-ignored social issues addressed, and the rebirth of a self-confident Ireland", Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Martin Heydon said.

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The decision comes following a disappointing General Election result a year ago, which saw Kenny's party fail to secure a majority in the Irish Parliament and criticisms about the way in which he has handled a police scandal.

In what is expected to be a two-horse race, nearly 21,000 Fine Gael party members will vote at 26 polling stations from May 29 to June 1, and the parliamentary party, which includes 73 TDs, senators and MEPs, will vote in Dublin on June 2.

"I'm really humbled, really grateful for that", he said.

Simon Coveney is in Clare today for a number of engagements including the Clare Fine Gael AGM, but his visit here comes as he faces an uphill battle to defeat Leo Varadkar.

Mr Donohoe stated his intention to vote for Mr Varadkar in an interview on RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

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Earlier on Friday Fine Gael leadership challenger Simon Coveney admitted that the momentum is with Mr Varadkar but rejected any suggestion of conceding.

This is important as the 73 TDs, senators and MEPs who are members of the parliamentary party have a 65% share of the overall vote with party members having 25% and councillors 10%.

Hopes surrounding a confirmed date being rubber-stamped had dominated much speculative talk as local delegates came together for last Thursday night's annual general meeting in Abbeyshrule.

Education minister Richard Bruton is also reported to be assessing the possibility of entering the race.

"I believe now is a good time for a new Finance Minister to take up office", Noonan said in a statement.

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