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Varadkar and Coveney split on leadership

21 February 2017

Enda Kenny is set to address a Fine Gael Parliamentary Party meeting on Wednesday on the matter of party leadership.

When asked if the Taoiseach should clarify if he is going to depart in four weeks, eight weeks or 12 weeks, he said that, "the Taoiseach has led Fine Gael for 15 years, he has led the country through a storm".

On the same programme, however, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan seemed to suggest that a change in Taoiseach would dissolve the "confidence and supply" agreement between the two parties that saw Fianna Fáil abstain from last week's confidence of no motion - thus preserving the government. If there is it will only be supported by a very small group in the party.

"I think the emphasis has been a little bit different from Leo and me". He did not believe that was the correct way to proceed.

Simon Coveney has told Fine Gael TDs and Senators to "back off" the Taoiseach, over the party leadership. However, he said he had displayed a leadership role throughout his political life, and the 30-year old said his age was not a factor.

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Mr Harris later tweeted that he was working as hard as he possibly could in the department and had lots to do and would not engage in idle speculation.

Meanwhile Ms Fitzgerald said she would make her position known on the leadership after Mr Kenny makes a statement on his intentions.

Speaking today in Cork, the Housing Minister said the party must trust the Taoiseach to know what's best for the country.

"The business of people sitting at parliamentary party meetings tweeting out what's going on is absolutely corrosive. He is not making a comment before then, so I think we all look forward with interest to what he has to say on Wednesday".

Varadkar and Coveney split on leadership