Wednesday 13 December 2017

Coveney launches his leadership campaign focusing on an 'honest, strong' government

“I don’t think that a family living in a hotel room this evening is looking for a Taoiseach with X Factor. They are looking for a Taoiseach who’ll solve their problems”

Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Frank McGrath
Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Frank McGrath
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

HOUSING Minister Simon Coveney has said he doesn’t believe a Taoiseach needs ‘X Factor’, saying they need to deliver.

Mr Coveney launched his bid for the Fine Gael leadership today with declarations from ministers Simon Harris, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Damien English and David Stanton.

His message will be built around “strong, positive government with big ideas”.

“As far as I’m concerned I’m fighting for the soul of this party,” he said.

Shortly after Mr Coveney’s media appearance at Fine Gael headquarters in Dublin city centre, Leo Varadkar’s team called a doorstep where nine of the party’s 19 senators declared their support for the Social Protection Minister.

Senator Catherine Noone said he was the “best man for the job”.

Mr Varadkar’s campaign also got an early boost as Education Minister Richard Bruton endorsed his bid – but the candidate has still to make a public appearance since Enda Kenny’s decision to stand down.

Mr Coveney said he believes the new leader should not just manage an economy but also focus on making people’s lives better.

He said his manifesto will be an attempt to “re-balance this country away from the dominance of Dublin so that rural people and rural parishes can believe in their futures again”.

Asked whether he has the X Factor, Mr Coveney said: “That depends on what you describe as the X Factor. For me it’s about honest, strong, deliver.

“I don’t think that a family living in a hotel room this evening is looking for a Taoiseach with X Factor. They are looking for a Taoiseach who’ll solve their problems.”

He refused to give any indication of what his future Cabinet might look like and even to guarantee Leo Varadkar a place in it.

“Leo’s a talented guy. He’ll be involved in the future of the party one way or the other. I’m not going to start naming Cabinet positions,” he said.

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

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