Fine Gael leadership

Latest: Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar have clashed sharply during a lively debate during their first head-to-head hustings in Dublin this evening

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney go head to head in first hustings

The race to be the next taoiseach will heat up this evening as rivals Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney go head-to-head in the first of four nights of hustings for the Fine Gael leadership contest.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary backs ‘more risky’ Leo Varadkar

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said he’s strongly backing Leo Varadkar and not fellow Corkman Simon Coveney to become the new Fine Gael leader because he believes that the country needs a fresh change.

Stroll in the park for Leo Varadkar, but kissing babies is off the agenda

Despite sunshine, a few storm clouds rolled in from the south for Leo, writes Lise Hand.

Leo Varadkar calls Sinn Féin 'the greatest threat to our democracy'

Leo Varadkar has attacked Sinn Féin claiming the party are "the greatest threat to our democracy", writes Elaine Loughlin of the Irish Examiner.

Simon Coveney takes issue with Leo Varadkar's United Ireland tagline

Simon Coveney says he can win the fight to be the next Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach by just 2% if he can reverse just six votes for his rival and win the support of most members and councillors.

Latest: Simon Coveney: ‘I’m not used to being an underdog, in politics or in life’

The Housing Minister believes he is the right person to take over from Enda Kenny.

Simon Coveney bullish on prospects

Fine Gael leadership contender Simon Coveney has insisted he can win the support of seven TDs and MEPs who have not declared — turning the election into a ‘knife-edge’ contest.

Fianna Fáil: Any new policy will require talks

Fianna Fáil will demand a renegotiation of the confidence and supply agreement if the new Fine Gael leader attempts to introduce policies into the programme for government.

Hands-off warning as gloves come off as well

“She’s 100% committed. He’ll just have to target someone else.” It may still officially be a polite, cordial oh-so-Fine Gael leadership race, but there is no mistaking the fact the gloves are slowly coming off in the fight to become taoiseach.

Leo Varadkar camp defy calls to defect

Leo Varadkar’s supporters are defying overtures from Simon Coveney’s camp to change their position with one TD declaring he would not “commit political suicide” and reverse his stance.

Leadership race provides chance for Fine Gael to set new direction

Around the country members are meeting the two men who want the privilege of being Taoiseach, writes Gerard Howlin.

Fianna Fáil 'ready' for snap election and won't support Varadkar's 'flimsy' proposal banning strikes

Fianna Fáil has said it is ready for a snap election at any time and could have candidates selected in a matter of days.

Reshuffle inevitable as supporters jockey for cabinet posts

Inevitably with a new Cabinet or reshuffle of ministers, there will be losers as well as winners.

Key policy unveiled by Varadkar lashed by unions and Fianna Fáil

Leo Varadkar has hit his first major stumbling block in the Fine Gael leadership race after a key policy — banning strike action by emergency services after a Labour Court recommendation is issued — was lambasted by unions and opposition parties.

Trade unions and parties attack Varadkar’s ‘Thatcher-like’ measures

Leo Varadkar’s radical plan to ban workers from striking has provoked a backlash among trade unions and parties and threatened to destabalise new pay deal talks with public sector employees.

If elected, Leo, you’ll need to be more than taoiseach for early risers

Set out to break down barriers. Not the trendy ones, but the really insurmountable barriers, says Fergus Finlay.

Waiting for Leo: King-in-waiting takes centre stage

Lise Hand admires Leo Varadkar’s immaculate stage directions in his campaign so far, from backdrops to props and stealing scenes from his rival. But his policy details will not go down well with everyone

Light on substance but Leo Varadkar does look the part

Taking questions for some 40 minutes at his policy launch yesterday, Leo Varadkar looks cut from a different cloth to the incumbent leader, writes Alison O’Connor.

Varadkar says landlords 'should be treated like any other business'

Latest: Fine Gael leadership candidate Leo Varadkar has said the "punitive charges" against landlords must be reversed so they are treated "like any" company and allowed to "offset" losses against their "business".

LATEST: Simon Coveney denies he is an 'also-ran' and wants Fine Gael 'to represent everybody'

Latest: Despite being behind in the leadership race, Simon Coveney said today he is not an "some kind of also-ran".

Simon Coveney’s politeness and policies prove no match for Leo Varadkar

If the Fine Gael leadership race had kicked off with the hustings and not a catwalk of declarations, we would have a very different contest, and possibly a different winner, writes Elaine Loughlin.

Can the first-impression ‘magic’ trick endure for Leo Varadkar?

There is, as his (eventual) supporter, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald opined, a “magic” to Leo Varadkar, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Leo Varadkar pledges double budget for sport and arts

Leo Varadkar will double the Government budget for arts, culture, and sport over seven years if elected Taoiseach.

Simon Coveney has ‘concerns’ about risk to backers

Simon Coveney is “concerned” for the political careers of those who have supported him as Leo Varadkar maintains a significant lead in the Fine Gael leadership race.

Simon Coveney strives to win back support from Leo Varadkar

A defiant Simon Coveney is to make a major drive to convince party colleagues to switch their support from Leo Varadkar to him.

Simon Coveney: We are not done yet

It's not over yet - Housing Minister Simon Coveney has vowed to continue his campaign for the leadership of Fine Gael, writes Eoin English of the Irish Examiner.

Varadkar rules out snap election and Brexit role for Enda Kenny

Runaway Fine Gael leadership candidate Leo Varadkar has ruled out calling a snap election and will not give Enda Kenny an official Brexit role should he gain power.

Simon Coveney is back to home turf to rally supporters

Housing Minister Simon Coveney will stage a major rally in Cork tonight with his supporters insisting it’s still all to play for in the Fine Gael leadership race.

LATEST: Nominations close for FG leadership race

Latest: Nominations have closed for the Fine Gael leadership election.

Simon Coveney’s team aims to make gains with grassroots

Simon Coveney’s campaign team have urged grassroots Fine Gael members to “turn” national politicians supporting Leo Varadkar, after two Clare TDs controversially backed his rival just hours after the Housing Minister visited their constituency.

Offering sweet stuff on Leo Varadkar St

When it comes to the dirty game of politics, all tactics are deployed, writes Elaine Loughlin.

Leo Varadkar ensures D-Day arrives a bit early for Simon Coveney

June 7, 1944 was D-Day plus 1, writes Political Editor Daniel McConnell.

Paschal Donohoe solidifies key position in the party

Donohoe has solidified his position as a central player in Fine Gael and is now in pole position to be a contender the next time a leadership contest is held, writes Daniel McConnell

Latest: Fine Gael factions kick off: Coveney backer labels Varadkar supporters 'choir boys'

Latest: A key Simon Coveney backer has labelled Leo Varadkar's supporters "choir boys" who are "singing for their supper" and ignoring grassroots views.

History books will treat Enda Kenny more fairly than the current commentary

Without doubt he damaged the party further by staying on too long in an act of self indulgence, writes Alison O’Connor

Enda should have quit while he was ahead

From highpoints such as challenging the Vatican, to lows like being ensnared in Garda scandals, Political Correspondent Juno McEnroe looks at the career of Enda Kenny

Respect for Michael Noonan trumps criticism

Often described as the godfather of Fine Gael, Michael Noonan has been the glue that keeps the Government together — but at times he has been the reason for its headaches.

‘X Factor’ Leo Varadkar launches shock and awe strategy

Shock and Awe, Blitzkrieg, total annihilation. That was the clear strategy from the Leo ‘X Factor’ Varadkar camp on the first day of the campaign to replace Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, writes Political Editor Daniel McConnell.

Potential gains to left of Fine Gael but Leo Varadkar leans right

The party is looking for a candidate to tailer a message to the electorate. There are a number of considerations to make, writes Joe Leogue.

Leo Varadkar’s ‘shock and awe’ start has given him lead over Simon Coveney

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar’s “shock and awe” start to his leadership campaign has given him an early but decisive lead over Housing Minister Simon Coveney in the race to become Taoiseach.

Fine Gael scrambles for hustings venues due to short timeframe

Fine Gael has been scrambling to book venues for its leadership hustings due to the short timeframe of the contest.

Enda Kenny: 'Je ne regrette rien'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in sombre mood this morning, responding to questions about whether he has any regrets about his time in power by saying: "Je ne regrette rien", writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner.

Simon Coveney: People 'looking for a Taoiseach who will solve their problems'

Housing Minister Simon Coveney has strongly hit back at claims he lacks charisma, saying a new Taoiseach doesn't need an 'X factor' but needs to deliver, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.

Richard Bruton endorses 'decisive' and 'reforming' Leo Varadkar

Education Minister Richard Bruton has announced he will not be running in the Fine Gael leadership race but will instead be supporting Leo Varadkar, writes Elaine Loughlin of the Irish Examiner.

Latest: Final plans for FG leadership contest revealed

Latest: Fine Gael's national executive has outlined the final plans for the leadership contest.

Political marathon man: Enda Kenny steps down

IF ENDA KENNY and Arsene Wenger ever decide to have a friendly kickabout they will surely have lots in common to talk about. 

Enda days: 15 years as leader and four minutes to say Enda Kenny's retiring

As Enda Kenny announces his retirement he says he is 'honoured and privileged' to have served as leader since 2002. Now, Ministers Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar are set to declare candidacy for the now vacant position of Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach.

Photo gallery: A look at Enda Kenny through the years

Here is a compilation of photos from Mr Kenny's life throughout the years.

Michael Ring says Kenny's successor will have to have commitment and stamina

Mayo Fine Gael TD Michael Ring has said Enda Kenny's successor will have to show the same commitment and stamina that the Taoiseach did.

Emotion the order of the day as Enda Kenny steps down at historic Fine Gael party meeting

It was a short but historic meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, when an emotional Enda Kenny announced he would be standing down as leader, writes political reporter Elaine Loughlin.

Pragmatism over principle. The hallmark of Enda Kenny's leadership

Pragmatism over principle has been the hallmark of Enda Kenny's time as leader, suggests Political Editor Daniel McConnell.

Enda Kenny: Highs and lows of his record-breaking time as Fine Gael leader

He led Ireland out of the worst recession in living memory, then called people "whingers" for not realising it.

Latest: British PM Theresa May wishes Enda Kenny 'all the very best'

Latest: British Prime Minister Theresa May has wished Enda Kenny all the best describing him as a strong and consistent friend of Britain.

Leo Varadkar ready to launch leadership campaign

Fine Gael leadership contender Leo Varadkar and his team are ready to immediately launch his election bid if Taoiseach Enda Kenny only signals when he may resign at a party meeting today.

Ministers unsure on Enda Kenny exit plan

Several ministers remain unconvinced Taoiseach Enda Kenny will resign as Fine Gael leader tomorrow and instead may signal a date later in May or June wherein he would step aside.

Simon Coveney team say he has momentum to win leadership contest

Housing minister Simon Coveney believes he now has enough support in the three-part electoral college of Fine Gael to win the upcoming leadership contest.

Enda Kenny: I haven’t changed mind on stepping down

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted he has not changed his mind on stepping down as leader of Fine Gael.

Fine Gael ‘to vote on new leader in weeks’

Fine Gael members across the country have been put on alert that a vote for a new leader will happen by the end of this month.

Leo Varadkar calls for TV debate as opening shots fired in Fine Gael leadership battle

The opening salvo has been fired in the Fine Gael leadership battle after Leo Varadkar called for a TV debate and took a swipe at rival Simon Coveney about when the upcoming contest will begin.

LATEST: Dr James Reilly expects there to be a new taoiseach by summer

Update 12.22pm: Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has said that he does not believe there has been a change in Taoiseach's position on his departure.