Coveney hits out at rival's big focus on 'people who get up early'
Housing Minister Simon Coveney has said Fine Gael must focus equally on working people and those who "can't get up in the morning for whatever reason or don't have a bed to go to at night".
In a clear attempt to distance himself from rival Leo Varadkar, the minister said he has "kicked back" against the Dublin TD's vision of the party.
In a series of thinly veiled attacks, Mr Coveney said the race for the leadership of Fine Gael should not be "superficial or based on practiced media launches".
He was speaking on the fringes of a meeting with councillors in Wicklow while Mr Varadkar was hosting a press event in Dublin to reveal his plans for party reforms.
Mr Coveney said he wanted the idea of a 'Just Society' to drive Fine Gael's moral compass. "I'm talking about somebody in that sleeping bag being as big a priority as somebody who is creating jobs in Ireland. That is what Fine Gael needs to be about. If we don't do that, we will continue to have politics based on division, on protest, on placard waving.
"I believe I have a capacity as a leader to unite Ireland.
"That's why I've kicked back so strongly at this commentary about Fine Gael representing the person who gets up early in the morning," he said.
Setting out his plan for the party, Mr Varadkar said: "This has given us the confidence and courage to be ambitious. However, nothing is certain in politics.
"If the right decisions are taken, we can lead this Government and the next. If the wrong decisions are taken, we will be back into survival mode.
"For parties to survive and prosper they must continuously adapt and modernise."
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
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