Coveney believes Kenny should stay until St Patrick's Day

One of the top contenders to contest the Fine Gael has made his clearest statement to date

Coveney believes Kenny should stay until St Patrick's Day

Simon Coveney speaking to the media outside the Custom House, Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

One of the senior ministers tipped to contest the Fine Gael leadership says the Taoiseach should be allowed to stay on until after his St Patricks' week trip to the White House.

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said he believes it's likely Enda Kenny will step down shortly after travelling to Washington.

Speaking to RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Minister Coveney said he was expecting the transition to quite quick.

"My opinion is that the Taoiseach should go to Washington because there's been a huge amount of work in preparation for that visit and it's in the country's interest that he go," he said.

"But I think after that visit, you will see, I hope, an orderly and quit quick transition to new leadership within Fine Gael."

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar yesterday increased pressure on the Taoiseach to outline his intentions, saying the current situation is distracting and destabilising for the Government, the party and the country.

He said that everyone is waiting to hear from Mr Kenny on the issue and added that he had full confidence in the Taoiseach to "settle it".

Odds

Minister Coveney has continued to shorten to take over as the next Fine Gael leader as the pressure continues to mount for Enda Kenny to call time on his reign.

Boylesports say the Cork South-Central TD is now priced at 2/1 as the bets continue to roll in. Support picked up for Coveney early on Friday, seeing his price cut from 3/1 to 5/2 and as it continues,

Minister Varadkar remains the favourite to lead Fine Gael, but has drifted further and is now 2/5 from 3/10 having only been eased from 1/4 on Friday.