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Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney only contenders for position of taoiseach

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney only contenders for position of taoiseach”

"I want to assure people that throughout this internal process, I will continue to carry out my duties and responsibilities as Taoiseach in full".

A local cabinet minister is backing Leo Varadkar to be a "courageous", "dynamic", and "energetic" Fine Gael leader.

Mr Kenny is this evening (Wednesday) expected to address the leadership question at a parliamentary party meeting at Leinster House.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is in London today for a number of engagements including a speech to the Ireland Funds Great Britain group.

Ms Doherty said she was supporting Mr Vardkar for his intellligence, integrity, sincerity and ability to listen.

The Loughill native has had the privilege of serving as a Minister in every Fine Gael led Government since 1982.

Mr Coveney dismissed the idea of cutting short the contest and said he has never lost an election.

Earlier on Friday the Waterford TD John Deasy, who is personally close to both candidates, came out in support of Mr Varadkar.

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".

After meeting party lawmakers, Kenny said he will step down at midnight, remaining interim party leader until a successor is elected by June 2.

He added: "Having inherited a country and an economy that was decimated by mismanagement, Enda's strong leadership and ability to make hard decisions was recognised both at home and overseas and saw our global reputation restored and strengthened".

In declaring for Mr Varadkar, who has held the transport, tourism and sport portfolios along with health and social protection, Mr Donohoe pointed to decisions his cabinet colleague has taken on the Luas cross city project, progress on medical cards, reform of welfare rights for the self-employed and mothers.

"I also believe Minister Varadkar will help stabilise our country, deal with the challenges of Brexit and help Donegal and the border counties in the months and years ahead".

The contest will be decided using a weighted voting system across three electoral colleges - the parliamentary party, councillors and party members.

"I believe now is a good time for a new Finance Minister to take up office", said Noonan, who will also retire from politics at the next election.



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