Sunday 25 August 2019

Coveney is back in FG leadership race

Housing Minister faces down Fianna Fáil; Varadkar supporters say rival 'had good day'; Rent cap to stay at FG's preferred 4pc rate

Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Housing Minister Simon Coveney is back in contention as a strong frontrunner in the Fine Gael leadership race after facing down Fianna Fáil to secure the passing of his rent strategy.

By refusing to offer any substantial compromise on his plan during negotiations with Fianna Fáil, Mr Coveney took a huge political risk but senior party sources were last night claiming "a major victory".

The long-awaited plan, which includes a rent cap limiting price increases to 4pc annually in Dublin and Cork city, is expected to be approved by the Dáil today.

It comes after a tense 48 hours that saw Fianna Fáil and the Fine Gael-led minority government test their 'confidence and supply' arrangement to the limit.

Eventually, Micheál Martin's party backed down completely on its demand that the cap be halved to 2pc, and accepted that commuter belt towns and other cities would not be immediately designated as 'Rent Pressure Zones' (RPZs).

Supporters of Mr Coveney's leadership rival Leo Varadkar conceded Mr Coveney had "a good day". Two other Fine Gael Cabinet ministers told the Irish Independent they were "delighted" with Mr Coveney's performance.

Irish Independent

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