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Joe McHugh declares his support for Leo Varadkar for Taoiseach

Joe McHugh declares his support for Leo Varadkar for Taoiseach

Then speaking to reporters, firstly paying tribute to outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minster for Finance Michael Noonan, Varadkar told how he wanted to "modernise" Fine Gael as well as connecting with electorate again.

It is an intriguing detail that Leo Varadkar was one of the TDs who set the process in motion to change the way in which the leader of Fine Gael is elected.

He had previously said he wouldn't lead the party into the. Kenny announced Wednesday, May 17, 2017 he will step down at midnight, remaining interim leader until a successor is selected by June 2.

He also said he will not stand for reelection as a member of parliament.

Mr Coveney said that he expected Mr Varadkar to get a head start early on and that he was confident party members and councillors would respond positively to his message.

Leadership hopeful Varadkar, now Minister for Social Protection, visited Donegal last week.

The two challengers were left to fight it out as Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Education Minister Richard Bruton ruled themselves out of the race.

"I also believe Minister Varadkar will help stabilise our country, deal with the challenges of Brexit and help Donegal and the border counties in the months and years ahead".

Five Cabinet ministers have publicly backed his bid to succeed Enda Kenny with Mr Donohoe and Mr Flanagan the latest.

The current housing minister has also been in charge of several portfolios including agriculture and defense.

He has led the center-right Fine Gael party for 15 years and been prime minister since 2011.

He said Minister Simon Coveney is "a very fine politician" but said he believes Mr Varadkar has the "rare combination of intellect and judgement needed for leadership".

In a statement, Mr Kehoe said Mr Varadkar's "capacity to build a strong support base is testament to his willingness to work with party colleagues".

David Cameron took to Twitter to pay tribute, posting: "Enda Kenny TD was a strong leader for Ireland, a great partner for the United Kingdom, and remains a good friend".

The Fine Gael government is propped up by their historic rivals Fianna Fail in a confidence and supply agreement.


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