Sunday 18 February 2018

It’s Leo’s lightweights vs Simon’s senior ranks

Lame duck Kenny to meet Trump on US trip

Ministers Leo Varadkar (left) and Simon Coveney. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ministers Leo Varadkar (left) and Simon Coveney. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Kevin Doyle and Niall O'Connor

Simon Coveney is banking on the support of senior figures in Fine Gael in a bid to catch Leo Varadkar in the leadership race.

Mr Varadkar is regarded as the overwhelming favourite to replace Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

His lead derives from substantial support on the Fine Gael backbenches. However, the lack of ministers backing his campaign is leaving a gap to be closed.

Mr Coveney is targeting senior Fine Gael ministers as a means to show he has heavyweight support.

Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney are the main contenders. But Richard Bruton, Simon Harris and Frances Fitzgerald all told supporters last night that they are actively considering an entrance into the race.

Paschal Donohoe, who would be backed by Mr Kenny and Michael Noonan, says he won't contest.

The leadership race is likely to take place over the next month. Although he will be a lame-duck Taoiseach, Mr Kenny will still visit the White House to meet US President Donald Trump.

The tribunal of inquiry into the smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe can be extended to examine the complaints of other garda whistleblowers.

The terms of reference for the tribunal was passed by the Dáil yesterday.

Irish Independent

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