Opinion John Downing

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Analysis: Coveney goes after the traditional FG small companies' vote

'Overhauling the rates reminds people that Simon Coveney may be ‘culturally more Fine Gael’' Photo: Tom Burke
'Overhauling the rates reminds people that Simon Coveney may be ‘culturally more Fine Gael’' Photo: Tom Burke
John Downing

John Downing

Simon Coveney's background in farming and business means he would, at all events, be keen to change long-standing inequities and contradictions in our commercial rates system.

But a big part of Fine Gael's traditional role was to "defend the ratepayers" and much of its classic support in provincial and rural Ireland came from local business people. So, his initiative to finally overhaul the system of commercial rates will do him no harm at all with the party grassroots as he continues in this strange party leadership campaign.

Enda Kenny's "keep 'em-guessing" strategy does not help either pretender in the succession stakes to become party leader and Taoiseach. It is a race between Mr Coveney and the Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar - and the other would-be contenders do not look like they are going to pose much difficulty for either frontrunner.

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