Tuesday 25 July 2017

Varadkar: Leadership speculation can prove 'distracting'

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

SOCIAL Protection Minister Leo Varadkar does not believe the speculation surrounding the Fine Gael leadership has proven “destabilising” for the party.

Mr Varadkar said he believed such speculation can prove “distracting” and that ministers need to “get on with our business”.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said he would not be drawn on when the upcoming leadership contest will begin.

“What I have said for a year at this stage, is that I am very sure the time should be set by the Taoiseach and the best way to ensure an orderly transition to a new Fine Gael leader and a new Taoiseach is to have that timeline set and led by the Taoiseach and it is the best way to avoid any unnecessary conflict,” he said.

On Wednesday night, Mr Kenny said he will remain on as leader for the upcoming EU summit on April 29.

His remarks have led to widespread predictions within the party that he will step aside in June, after a leadership contest takes place.

Mr Varadkar, a frontrunner in the race to succeed Mr Kenny, insisted the party is “very stable”.

“Not destabilising, Fine Gael and the Government is very stable,” he said.

“I think potentially these things can be distracting and that falls on usd as ministers to get on with our business. I imagine all ministers have plenty to do, because that’s what the public actually want.”

Meanwhile, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said it is important ministers focus on their work.

“The public expect us to be concerned about discharging the jobs we are lucky enough to have. Over the last number of weeks we have seen many initiatives launched by Government. We are focused on the jobs we have and that will be our approach.”

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