Wednesday 21 February 2018

Early riser Leo is setting the pace - but Simon's race is not run just yet

Eoghan Murphy, Leo Varadkar and Maura Hopkins get ready to run the ‘Streets of Dublin’ 5km race. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Eoghan Murphy, Leo Varadkar and Maura Hopkins get ready to run the ‘Streets of Dublin’ 5km race. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

When Leo Varadkar talked about wanting to be a leader for people who get up early, few thought it meant to go running on a Sunday morning.

But it was shortly after 8.30am when the putative Taoiseach jogged in Dublin Docklands in a 5km race to get the day started.

Surprised runners could be heard whispering at the sight, finally figuring out why so many photographers and cameramen had shown up for the Streets of Dublin run. The jogging leader is a classic photocall, perfected by people such as Bill Clinton and David Cameron.

After two days of handing out branded cupcakes, it was a change of pace for the Varadkar campaign.

He was accompanied by Junior Minister Eoghan Murphy, Senator Maura Hopkins and a few from his backroom team who pleaded that it wasn't their idea to drag the reporters out of bed so early on a Sunday.

Before taking off on his jog around town, he batted away questions about Brexit, welfare and how he left Simon Coveney for the dead in the race that really matters.

Read More: Coveney fears that supporters will lose jobs as 'dirty tricks' see contest turn ugly

Mr Varadkar was home and hosed by the time Mr Coveney arrived in Dublin to launch his policy priorities at the rather trendy Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street.

Acting as MC, Kate O'Connell joked that many of those present might be more familiar with the surroundings during the hours of darkness.

Over coffee and croissants, the Housing Minister mingled with supporters and journalists before telling them he has "big ideas".

"Of course this is a personality contest. But it is also a fight for the soul of Fine Gael," he said.

There was lots of fighting talk and a warning that the next leader would have to be "challenged" on his vision for Fine Gael and Ireland.

Mr Coveney's race isn't run, but Mr Varadkar is across the finish line. For those wondering, it took him 26 minutes and 44 seconds. A deferential Mr Murphy came in five seconds later, followed by Ms Hopkins.

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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