Friday 19 January 2018

Exclusive Audio: Gloves off as key Coveney backer labels Varadkar supporters as 'choirboys'

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell Picture: Tom Burke
Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell Picture: Tom Burke

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

A leading supporter of Simon Coveney has launched a scathing attack on the Leo Varadkar campaign, describing some of his backers as “choirboys”.

Dublin Bay South TD Kate O’Connell also took a major swipe at her constituency colleague Eoghan Murphy, who she described as Mr Varadkar’s “campaign manager”.

During a speech at a private meeting in Ennis, Co Clare tonight, Ms O’Connell said she described TDs who have come out in support of Mr Varadkar as “boys that are singing for their supper.”

She told the meeting: "I am very disappointed at the last few days. At the choreographed, coordinated choirboys that came out. Boys that are singing for their supper."

And in further criticism, Ms O’Connell added: "You want to be heard as members, the process the way it is turning at the minute, your voices will not be heard."

Ms O’Connell made the remarks following a very difficult day for Mr Coveney after so much of the parliamentary party backed Mr Varadkar for Taoiseach.

To rapturous rounds of applause, she said she knows the "form" of Mr Varadkar’s campaign manager, who she has watched for two years.

The remarks are a dig at junior finance minister Eoghan Murphy, who is also her constituency colleague. "I have watched the campaign manager of the other side for a long time as a member of Dublin Bay South. And I know the form and I am not shocked at what has happened over the past 48 hours," she said.

She said Fine Gael has "members of their parliamentary party that are afraid of their jaysus of what is what is ahead of them."

"We need a Fine Gael leader that puts manners on the Cowens and puts manners on the Martins who destroyed the dignity of this country," she said.

Ms O Connell also hit out at what she describes as the "brigade that is infiltrating Fine Gael that believes in giving nothing back."

The comments are sure to prompt a terse response from the Varadkar side.

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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