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Simon Coveney for Taoiseach?

Thursday, 18th May, 2017 1:01am

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has retired as leader of Fine Gael and is in the role now, in an acting capacity, but who is favourite to take over?

Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar are tipped to be potential new leaders of the party.

According to Paddy Power, Minister Varadkar is currently the favourite to take home the prize at 4/9 on.

Cork’s Minister Coveney currently stands at 13/8 second favourite, with Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s fleeting interest giving her a 22/1 shot.

Simon Coveney, the current Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, was born in Cork in 1972 and had an esteemed background in education, including holding a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Land Management from The Royal Agriculture College, Gloucestershire.

He also studied at UCC; Gurteen Agricultural College, Tipperary and Clongowes Wood College in Kildare.

He has had a rich history in politics in Ireland, beginning in 1998 when he was elected TD for Cork South-Central via a by-election initiated as a result of the death of his father Hugh.

In 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament for the South constituency in Ireland where he tackled human rights issues with the European People’s Party Group.

He returned to Dáil Éireann after being elected in the 2007 general election, thus stepping down as Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

It marked an upsurge for Fine Gael who regained a lot of the seats they lost in the previous general election. 2011 saw Coveney appointed Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government.

In 2014, Minister for Defence was added to his brief after an Enda Kenny reshuffle of governmental positions saw many big names taking over new positions, including seeing Eamon Gilmore established to Tánaiste.

The Cork South-Central TD could become the constituency’s first leader of Fine Gael in its history and has the backing from fellow Fine Gael senators Jerry Buttimer and Paudie Coffey in the leadership bid.

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