File photo: Leo Varadkar
A majority of Kildare’s Fine Gael’s elected members are set to support Leo Varadkar in the party’s leadership contest.
The Leinster Leader attempted to make contact with all of the party’s sitting Kildare councillors and TDs.
Cllr. Mark Stafford, who is supporting Deputy Varadkar explained that the votes of sitting TDs, MEPs and Senators makes up 65% of the overall. County Councillors make up 10% and non-elected members for the party, who have been members for the past two years make up the renaining 25%.
Cllr Stafford said he would be “supporting Leo Varadker. I first became aware of him many years ago at an Ard Fheis. He was spoken of as a vibrant force in west Dublin — a man of exceptional quality.” He said he’d had the privilege of meeting both candidates and both were very competent, excellent men.”
Cllr Fintan Brett said that he was also supporting Deputy Varadkar. “We need someone like that. If it was any other candidate I’d vote for Simon. I have great time for him. He’s a fabulous minister and he’s not as conservative as some might think.”
Cllr Darren Scully is also supporting Deputy Varadkar.
Cllr. Brendan Weld bucked the trend with support for Deputy Coveney.
“I don’t think he’s going to win — but as the fella says that’s democracy. He’s more experienced, a steadier hand, and to be fair, he’d be more to the centre. I’d be afraid Varadkar might be too much to the right.”
Cllrs Ivan Keatley and Tim Durkan both professed to be undecided.
Cllr Keatly said he hadn’t spoken to Deputy Varadkar yet, but that they are “two great candidates”. Cllr Durkan said the party was “spoilt for choice with the two of them” and that they were “both very capable”.
Deputy Martin Heydon said that as chairman of the parliamentary party he was not taking a side because both sides needed to believe he was an honest broker. We could not reach Deputy Durkan or Cllr Joe Neville for a comment.
Although not entitled to vote as a councillor because of her suspension, Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy was in favour of Deputy Varadkar saying that “poeple in parties are very susceptible to groupthink” and she admired his work with the whistle blowers. “I think he brings something new.”