Ireland

Simon Coveney rules himself out as candidate to replace Leo Varadkar

The Enterprise Minister said he had his chance to run for the leadership in 2017.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney has ruled himself out of replacing Leo Varadkar
John Bruton funeral Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney has ruled himself out of replacing Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Simon Coveney has ruled himself out as a candidate for the Fine Gael leadership in the wake of Leo Varadkar’s resignation.

Mr Coveney said he suspects there will be more than one candidate to lead the party.

The Enterprise Minister was defeated by Mr Varadkar when he ran for the leadership in 2017.

He told RTE that “I had my chance” at the Fine Gael leadership, adding: “No, I made a decision quite some time ago that I wouldn’t stand in another leadership contest.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced he is to step down as Taoiseach and as leader of his party
Leo Varadkar steps down as Taoiseach Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced he is to step down as Taoiseach and as leader of his party (Nick Bradshaw/PA)

“I had my chance and wasn’t successful the last time. I think there’s a lot of talent in the party.”

He added: “The Fine Gael national executive meets this evening, it’s an emergency meeting effectively to put in train now a process to elect or select a new leader.

“If there is more than one candidate, and I suspect there may well be, then there’ll be hustings around the country but we believe as a party we can get all of this done in the space of about 18-19 days.”

Asked whether he has a preferred candidate, Mr Coveney said: “No, I don’t.”