Former Minister of Agriculture enters the race for the Fine Gael leadership

Former Minister of Agriculture enters the race for the Fine Gael leadership

Former Minister of Agriculture enters the race for the Fine Gael leadership

Liam Glynn, BoyleSports spokesperson said "Now that Enda Kenny has finally chose to throw in the towel, the race is on to see who will succeed him as leader of Fine Gael".

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

"I have chose to implement this decision today", Kenny said in a written statement posted on his Twitter account.

"I will continue to carry out my duties as party leader in an acting capacity, until my successor is elected through the Fine Gael leadership election process", he said.

"When it comes to social protection, he has looked after the self-employed, a group no other Social Protection Minister has in a number of years".

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"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 for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, Minister of State at the Department of Defence Paul Kehoe, Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd and Sligo Leitrim North TD Tony McLoughlin also all backed Mr Varadkar.

Minister McHugh made no comment on the forthcoming leadership contest that is set to follow the announcement.

While Noonan and Kenny have been widely praised for their management of the economy, their Fine Gael party lost a quarter of its seats at elections past year as voters complained they were not feeling the recovery.

The latter alludes to Varadkar's plain-speaking manner, which supporters say could widen the party's appeal.

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"I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with Simon Coveney, we're very lucky in Fine Gael to have two excellent candidates, it's a decision I've thought about and I will be supporting Leo".

LEO Varadkar has broken his silence for the first time on his bid to become the next leader of Fine Gael - and said he had "let others do the talking" but still had plenty to say himself.

Kenny has been a member of the parliament for west Ireland's County Mayo since 1975, having succeeded his father Henry Kenny.

Around 21,000 Fine Gael members will be entitled to vote with TDs and Senators accounting for 65 per cent of the vote, delegates 25 per cent and local councillors the remaining ten per cent share. He subsequently took up positions including minister for agriculture, defence and now housing.

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