Fine Gael ministers set to bid to succeed Enda Kenny

In a statement, Enda Kenny revealed he will "retire as leader from midnight tonight 17th May 2017".

"I have asked that the Fine Gael Executive Council expedite this process and to have it concluded by close of business on June 2".

He has held positions as Fine gael party leader ad ministerial portfolios in health, industry and commerce, and justice. "Clearly, there is a lot of momentum for Leo today, and good luck to him".

Mr Coveney denied that he has made any promises on cabinet jobs in return for support for his leadership bid and the TDs who came out gunning for Mr Varadkar also claimed they had been given no assurances.

Speaking to Cork's 96 FM News, the Minister for European Affairs said: "I've worked and known Simon Coveney for many years, and I think he's got the qualities we need at this time to lead the country".

He said Mr Varadkar is "the most capable politician of his generation".

"On a personal level, Enda has been very supportive of me and other new members of the Dáil". Some of these have yet to publicly declare their hand, however.

"I'm really humbled, really grateful for that", he said.

Slaven Bilic: 'West Ham United have enough leaders'
All in all though, I think that the Hammers are the better side and in a dead rubber like this one, they will get the job done. This game will be a chance for the players to thank their fans by getting a win for them and I expecting that to happen.

Mr Varadkar said he was staying for as long as the people wanted him.

Leadership hopeful Varadkar, now Minister for Social Protection, visited Donegal last week. He described it as the most hard political decision of his life.

Junior minister Paul Kehoe also backed Mr Varadkar, the Republic's first openly gay cabinet member.

"He introduced the social welfare increases in the last budget and more importantly as an urban TD he introduced the social scheme for farmers and fishermen".

His departure has been long anticipated after the party returned to power past year in a fragile minority coalition, which is dependent on the support of the opposition party Fianna Fail.

His supporters hope to narrow Mr Varadkar's lead, or pull ahead of him, before the series of hustings that will take place next week and mark the engagement between the candidates and rank-and-file members.

Under party rules, Fine Gael's 73 lawmakers make up 65 percent of the vote with the balance split between councillors and ordinary members.

A number of politicians have chosen to back Coveney in this election process, including the Minister of Health, Simon Harris, and Dr. James Reilly, who has chose to step down from his position as deputy leader of the party.

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