'He has many crowning achievements' - Paul Kehoe is supporting Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar has "many crowning achievements" and is the best choice to be the next Fine Gael leader, Deputy Paul Kehoe said this morning.
As Varadkar and Simon Coveney go head-to-head to fill Enda Kenny's role, Deputy Kehoe said he is backing the Social Protection Minister for the job.
Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, he said: "I will be supporting Minister Leo Varadkar for leadership of the Fine Gael party and for Taoiseach of this country.
"I've known Leo for many years, he's remained a very good friend and someone I greatly admire for his political skills, his personal skills and I am very proud to say that I will be supporting Leo Varadkar.
"I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with Simon Coveney, we're very lucky in Fine Gael to have two excellent candidates, it's a decision I've thought about and I will be supporting Leo.
"I have many reasons why I will be supporting Leo and I know he would make an excellent leader of the Fine Gael party and an excellent leader of this country."
He also claimed that some of Varadkar's achievements from his various ministerial positions show why he would be ideal to lead the party.
He said: "There are many crowning achievements that Leo Varadkar can be proud of from his ministerial roles.
"Leo was appointed Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, he had industrial relations negotiations that were carried out extremely well.
"During the biggest recession of the history of the state, he oversaw The Gathering, which I believe was a major tourism initiative and had a major part in the recovery of our economy.
"He also was part of reducing the VAT rate for the hospitality sector, if you talk to any hotelier or anyone in the hospitality sector and they'll say that's one of the major reasons they can attract overseas visitors to Ireland.
"In health something that has been going for years is the development of the National Children's Hospital and under his leadership of health he finalised the location.
"The most important thing here is that as a father of three young children and thanks to decisions under Leo's leadership I will now have a National Children's Hospital to take them to and there are many other fathers and mothers and young children who are happy to see that decision made.
"When it comes to social protection, he has looked after the self-employed, a group no other Social Protection Minister has in a number of years.
"He introduced the social welfare increases in the last budget and more importantly as an urban TD he introduced the social scheme for farmers and fishermen.
"He has many accolades he can be proud of from his five or six years as a minister."
Fine Gael parliamentary party endorsements for leader
The Fine Gael parliamentary party makes up 65pc of the total electorate.
That makes each of the 73 members' votes worth 0.9pc of the total ballot.
Of the remaining electorate, 230 party councillors account for 10pc, while the remaining 25pc is rank and file members.
|Richard Bruton -Minister||Simon Harris - Minister|
|Frances Fitzgerald - Minister||Damien English - Minister|
|Michael Ring - Minister||Dara Murphy - Minister|
|Eoghan Murphy - Minister||David Stanton - Minister|
|Sean Kyne - Minister||Marcella Corcoran Kennedy - Minister|
|Joe McHugh - Minister||Kate O'Connell - TD|
|Helen McEntee - Minister||Maria Bailey - TD|
|Charlie Flanagan - Minister||Sean Barrett TD|
|Paul Kehoe -Minister||Hildegard Naughton - TD|
|Patrick O'Donovan - Minister||Peter Fitzpatrick - TD|
|Regina Doherty - Minister||Tim Lombard - Senator|
|Mary Mitchell O'Connor - Minister||Jerry Buttimer - Senator|
|Paschal Donohoe - Minister||Paudie Coffey - Senator|
|Heather Humphreys - Minister||James Reilly - Senator|
|Pat Breen - Minister||Colm Burke - Senator|
|Catherine Byrne - Minister||John O'Mahony - Senator|
|Andrew Doyle - Minister||Paul Coghlan - Senator|
|John Paul Phelan - TD||Gabrielle McFadden - Senator|
|Noel Rock - TD||Deirdre Clune - MEP|
|Tony McLoughlin - TD|
|Alan Farrell - TD|
|Michael D'Arcy - TD|
|Tom Neville - TD|
|Josepha Madigan - TD|
|Pat Deering - TD|
|Jim Daly - TD|
|Brendan Griffin - TD|
|Ciaran Cannon - TD|
|Colm Brophy - TD|
|Peter Burke - TD|
|Fergus O'Dowd - TD|
|John Deasy - TD|
|Joe Carey - TD|
|Neale Richmond - Senator|
|Catherine Noone - Senator|
|Paddy Burke - Senator|
|Martin Conway - Senator|
|Michelle Mulherin - Senator|
|Maura Hopkins - Senator|
|Ray Butler - Senator|
|Frank Feighan - Senator|
|Maria Byrne - Senator|
|Joe O'Reilly - Senator|
|Kieran O'Donnell - Senator|
|Brian Hayes - MEP|
|Enda Kenny - Outgoing Party Leader *||Martin Heydon - Party Chairman *|
|Michael Noonan - Minister||Michael Creed - Minister|
|Bernard Durkan - TD||Sean Kelly - MEP|
|Mairead McGuinness MEP|
* Outgoing leader Enda Kenny and party chairman Martin Heydon will not make an endorsement