Who would you choose as the new leader of Fine Gael?

Alan Olson
May 20, 2017

"Enda Kenny was a courageous and passionate leader who showed true strength and leadership skills when this country needed it most", said Deputy Peter Burke, as he paid tribute to his party leader.

He has held positions as Fine gael party leader ad ministerial portfolios in health, industry and commerce, and justice.

Nominations for the contest to replace him close on Saturday with the successor due to be elected by June 2 and Ireland's Dail parliament due to vote in the new leader as taoiseach in the following days.

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Mr Kenny was said to have been composed, making the announcement on his own terms.

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

Junior minister Paul Kehoe also backed Mr Varadkar, the Republic's first openly gay cabinet member.

Dubliner Leo Varadkar remains the odds on favourite to get the job but following the support for Coveney, he has been eased to 8/15 from 2/5.

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Others in the ministerial ranks to back the Social Protection Minister were Joe McHugh, Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, who joined Mr Varadkar in Gweedore, Co Donegal, last weekend, and Eoghan Murphy and Sean Kyne.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Kenny had been a "strong and consistent friend" to her country.

Mr Varadkar now has the support of twice as numerous party's TDs and Senators as his main rival, Simon Coveney, during the first 24 hours of the race.

He understands, as he said last week, the unique circumstances of Donegal, cut off from the rest of the North for most of the last century by partition, and cut off geographically and in other ways from the rest of the State.

He said Mr Varadkar is "the most capable politician of his generation".

"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.

"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".

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, meanwhile, declared his intention to support Mr Varadkar saying he was the "change candidate".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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