Tuesday 6 December 2016

Coveney says Fine Gael leadership will have to be discussed in the 'not too distant future'

But for now it's distracting away from important issues

Published 07/07/2016 | 11:53

Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney

Housing Minister Simon Coveney has said the leadership of Fine Gael will have to be discussed in the "not too distant future" but for now it's distracting away from important issues like Brexit and solving the homelessness crisis.

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Mr Coveney was speaking this morning following last night's parliamentary party meeting where the future of Taoiseach Enda Kenny's leadership of Fine Gael was raised.

He denied that the firsts shots had been fired in a leadership race but said: "I think there was some pragmatic comments raised that look Fine Gael needs to think ahead."

He said there was a "blunt and honest conversation which a big party will have every now and then".

Mr Coveney added: "There's an acceptance that this week hasn't been a great week for the government.

He said that Mr Kenny's focus is on the "big challenges" like Brexit, solving the housing shortage and fixing the healthcare system.

"I think that to start speculating and talking about when and how and a process by which there's a leadership change in Fine Gael distracts us away from the core issues that we have a responsibility to try and deliver on and that's why I think it's not helpful," Mr Coveney said.

However, he added: "There will be a time in the not too distant future I expect when leadership is going to have to be discussed in Fine Gael but I don't see why we need to have a long drawn out process that actually distracts the government away from the core issues that it needs to deliver on for Irish people.

"I think the Taoiseach is a very experienced politician. He will have thought through what he needs to do over the next few years in the interests of Fine Gael but more importantly in the interests of running a good government and I think he deserves the time and the space to do that," Me Coveney said.

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