Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Choir boys' eyeing top jobs in Varadkar-led government

Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Tom Burke
Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The gloves came off in the Fine Gael leadership battle on Friday night when Dublin Bay South TD Kate O'Connell described some of Leo Varadkar's supporters as "choir boys".

Ms O'Connell did not hold back in her address to a Fine Gael party meeting in Co Clare. She criticised those people in the Leo Varadkar campaign who she said were "singing for their supper".

The remarks have caused disquiet in the party, but who exactly are the "choir boys" Ms O'Connell was referring to?


EOGHAN MURPHY: Mr Murphy is the minister of State at the Department of Finance and the bitter constituency rival of Ms O'Connell.

He is Mr Varadkar's campaign manager and has been highly involved in the strategy that has seen the Social Protection Minister streak into the lead.

Mr Murphy has told colleagues he anticipates he will be promoted to Cabinet if Mr Varadkar wins - and he is now being linked with the position of Jobs Minister.

He was tasked with distancing Mr Varadkar from Dublin North West TD Noel Rock after the latter publicly called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to step down.

Tensions between him and Ms O'Connell date back to last year's General Election campaign.

Some of Mr Murphy's supporters claimed that his rival's campaign was being funded heavily by party headquarters - claims that have never been substantiated.

In her broadside in Ennis, Ms O'Connell directly referenced Mr Murphy, saying she was not surprised "at the form" of the campaign manager.


JOHN PAUL PHELAN: The Carlow/Kilkenny TD is one of Mr Varadkar's closest confidantes.

John Paul Phelan. Photo: Tom Burke
John Paul Phelan. Photo: Tom Burke

Despite being in the Oireachtas as a TD and senator for 15 years, Mr Phelan has never held a ministerial post.

Like Mr Varadkar, he is a close friend of former minister Lucinda Creighton and her husband, ex-senator Paul Bradford.

While a low-key contributor to Dáil debates, Mr Phelan's profile grew as a member of the Banking Inquiry.

He is widely expected to be handed a ministry in a Varadkar-led government.


Michael D'arcy. Photo: Tom Burke
Michael D'arcy. Photo: Tom Burke

MICHAEL D'ARCY: The Wexford TD has been working behind the scenes on Mr Varadkar's leadership bid for many months.

Like Mr Murphy, Mr D'Arcy is known to have a cold relationship with his own constituency rival Paul Kehoe.

He became the first Government politician to call on Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to step down pending the outcome of the commission of inquiry into the alleged smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Outburst: Kate O’Connell. Photo: Tom Burke
Outburst: Kate O’Connell. Photo: Tom Burke

His father, also Michael, served as a junior minister in the 1980s. Mr D'Arcy is underrated and will be vying for a ministerial position if Mr Varadkar is successful.

Read more: Leo Varadkar's big ideas if he wins Fine Gael leadership and becomes Taoiseach

FG has seven yet to declare

Seven FG politicians have yet to declare - but who are they likely to back?

Enda Kenny: The former Fine Gael leader won't make a declaration but well-placed party sources believe he would like to see Simon Coveney succeed.

Martin Heydon: The party chairman has said he won't endorse either candidate due to his position.

Michael Noonan: The Finance Minister has told colleagues he won't make a public endorsement - but he is widely believed to be backing Mr Coveney.

Michael Creed: The Agriculture Minister has yet to reveal who he is backing. While he is seen as being close to Mr Coveney, supporters of Leo Varadkar say his refusal to declare is significant in itself.

Bernard Durkan: One of the few remaining TDs yet to declare. Mr Durkan is seen as being closer to Mr Coveney than his rival.

Seán Kelly: The Ireland South MEP was seen as one of Mr Coveney's bankers. But he is now understood to be having second thoughts.

Mairead McGuinness: Another MEP who had been expected to back Mr Coveney. She too is now understood to be considering backing Mr Varadkar.

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.

Leo Varadkar
Simon Coveney

Total: 45

Total: 19

Ministers: 17

Ministers: 5

TDs: 16

TDs: 5

Senators: 11

Senators: 8

MEPs: 1

MEPs: 1

Richard Bruton -MinisterSimon Harris - Minister
Frances Fitzgerald - MinisterDamien English - Minister
Michael Ring - MinisterDara Murphy - Minister
Eoghan Murphy - MinisterDavid Stanton - Minister
Sean Kyne - MinisterMarcella Corcoran Kennedy - Minister
Joe McHugh - MinisterKate O'Connell - TD
Helen McEntee - MinisterMaria Bailey - TD
Charlie Flanagan - MinisterSean Barrett TD
Paul Kehoe -MinisterHildegard Naughton - TD
Patrick O'Donovan - MinisterPeter Fitzpatrick - TD
Regina Doherty - MinisterTim Lombard - Senator
Mary Mitchell O'Connor - MinisterJerry Buttimer - Senator
Paschal Donohoe - MinisterPaudie Coffey - Senator
Heather Humphreys - MinisterJames Reilly - Senator
Pat Breen - MinisterColm Burke - Senator
Catherine Byrne - MinisterJohn O'Mahony - Senator
Andrew Doyle - MinisterPaul Coghlan - Senator
John Paul Phelan - TDGabrielle McFadden - Senator
Noel Rock - TDDeirdre 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 - MinisterMichael Creed - Minister
Bernard Durkan - TDSean Kelly - MEP
Mairead McGuinness MEP  

* Outgoing leader Enda Kenny and party chairman Martin Heydon will not make an endorsement

Irish Independent

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