Michael Noonan announces intention to step down as Minister for Finance

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 19, 2017

Leo Varadkar, who admits he "has been known to talk too much", moved into pole position to become Ireland's next prime minister, as Enda Kenny fired the gun on a leadership contest to succeed him.

The front-runners to replace Mr Kenny as Fine Gael leader and subsequently as taoiseach are Leo Varadkar, Social Protection Minister, and Simon Coveney, Housing Minister.

While Mr Varadkar is leading in opinion polls, party members, including those in the Oireachtas, see it as a close race between the two Ministers.

His successor is expected to be named by 2 June.

DUBLIN, May 18 (Reuters) - Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said on Thursday he will step down when a replacement for Prime Minister Enda Kenny is chosen next month, having presided for six years over the dramatic recovery of the Irish economy and banking system. The party then formed a minority government with independent TDs (members of parliament), with party leader Kenny serving as Prime Minister for the second time.

I also believe that we need to think about the future of our country and with this in mind, I believe the best choice for the next taoiseach is Leo Varadkar.

RICHARD Bruton and Frances Fitzgerald have ruled themselves out of the Fine Gael leadership race.

In his statement Mr Kenny said he will remain as Taoiseach until June 2nd.

"It was a very short speech, he may well have had more of a speech, but it was cut short as he got emotional", on TD said.

Mr Noonan was appointed leader of the Fine Gael party from February 2001 until May 2002 and served as Fine Gael's Finance spokesperson in July 2010.

Mr Kenny paid tribute to loyal constituents and supporters in Mayo who he has represented since 1975 and to his personal staff.

Kenny had campaigned against Brexit - Britain's move to leave the European Union - saying it would create "serious difficulties" for Northern Ireland and border areas.

"Last year, I indicated that I would not lead the FG Party into the next General Election".

Paul Kehoe argued: "As the political landscape continues to shift, at home and overseas, his forthright style and ability to effect change, makes him the best placed candidate to deal with the challenges facing us".

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