Coveney on attack over Varadkar's lean to right
Housing Minister Simon Coveney relentlessly attacked Leo Varadkar's vision for Fine Gael and the country as he sought to win over the grassroots at the party's first hustings.
The minister, who is trailing heavily in the leadership race, warned that Mr Varadkar was going to take the party down a road members might not like.
And in a clear criticism of Mr Varadkar's carefully planned leadership campaign, he said: "I think it's better I don't say too much about the preparedness for this campaign. That preparation was going on for about 12 months, from what I understand." Mr Varadkar replied: "If you can't prepare in three months when it comes to a general election, we might get a lot less votes than that."
The pair traded blows on plans for health, Brexit, security and the economy, and who would win the party more votes.
The hustings came as a new opinion poll showed Mr Coveney had overtaken Mr Varadkar as the public's favourite to replace Enda Kenny.