Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny stepping down

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 20, 2017

Cliona Doyle, chair of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, also pointed to Kenny's stewardship of the economy. "I have fought a lot of elections, and I have never lost", he told Clare FM.

Currently, a party leadership contest has officially begun.

A new leader to be announced after an electoral college of the parliamentary party, county councillors and party members have their say.

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coventry are the early frontrunners for the job.

"I do not wish to be considered for Cabinet by his successor, whoever that may be", Noonan said in a statement.

He added "Simon Coveney has also seen his priced halved into 3/1 from 6/1 to be Taoiseach after the Next General Election and judging by the momentum behind the Cork native over the past 24 hours, he certainly can not be ruled out".

Kenny's successor as party leader is set to be elected on June 2 and Noonan may still oversee the flotation of Allied Irish Banks, which he said could happen in the coming weeks, another landmark in the banking sector recovery. It said 13 backed Coveney.

"We've been through a really hard recession which is now over but the wounds caused by the recession are still real and many of them are open".

He added: "We are now at a crossroads as a country".

"We can repeat the mistakes of the past, allow ourselves to lose control of public spending, fuel the property market. or this time we can get it right".

Mr Varadkar is expected to formally launch his campaign for the Fine Gael leadership on Saturday.

The two favourites are Leo Varadkar, who is the son of an Indian immigrant, and Simon Coveney, whose father was also a government minister.

"I believe Leo Varadkar will make an excellent Taoiseach for all the people of the Republic of Ireland and for all the people of Donegal".

Minister Varadkar, who represents the Dublin West constituency, has been a TD for the past decade; he has previously been the Minister of Health and the Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Responding to Mr Kenny's decision to step down, Theresa May declared him to have been "a strong and consistent friend to the UK".

"He is best placed to bring Fine Gael into a new era".

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