Coveney: Next Taoiseach 'shouldn't rush to call next election'

Speaking to Newstalk Drive, he said a minority government can be good for the country

Coveney: Next Taoiseach 'shouldn't rush to call next election'

Minister Simon Coveney arrives at Government Buildings in Dublin | Image:

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said he doesn't think the country needs an election "any time soon".

As voting gets underway across the country to decide the next leader of Fine Gael, the Minister for Housing told Newstalk Drive that a minority government can be good for the country, and that the next Taoiseach should not rush into calling an election.

"If this country has an election, it needs to need an election," he said. "If a government can't function, the responsible thing to do is to call an election"

"I believe a minority government can be good for the country."

On the upcoming transition period in government and within Fine Gael, he said Enda Kenny had been "very generous" in allowing adequate time for the new leader to assume his role.

"He wants to give a new leader the time and the space to put the mechanics in place so that we have a functioning government.

"We we will have a result on Friday, followed by a really intense period where the new leader puts together a new Cabinet [and] beds down a written agreement with Fianna Fáil."

Future with Fianna Fáil

Coveney anticipated that Fianna Fáil will put the new leader through his paces following Friday's vote.

"Fianna Fáil will put the leader under pressure from day one - I hope they don't do it in an irresponsible way," he said.

"It's a difficult relationship at the moment - both parties want to maintain stable government but at the same time compete with each other."

Can he do it?

Despite many senators throwing their weight behind Varadkar, Coveney reiterated that "nobody has voted yet" and that he still believed he could win.

"We've had a great debate within Fine Gael over the last week, and I think it was a debate of really substance," he said of the recent hustings. "I think this will be very close."

"The first votes are being cast [...] There has been and there is plenty of time to reflect on the hustings. I think this is up for grabs."