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

Update 11.30am: Simon Coveney said he would not still be in the Fine Gael leadership contest if he did not think he could win it.

He trails Leo Varadkar, but is still hopeful he can convince some of Leo's supporters to switch their allegiance.

The Housing Minister believes he is the right person to take over from Enda Kenny and said it was an unusual feeling to be seen as unlikely to win.

“I wouldn't be in this contest if I didn’t think I was the best person for the job.

“I’m not used to being an underdog actually, in politics or in life for that matter. Normally I am starting in front and trying to stay there. So this is an unusual place for me to be in.

“It is a real test of character as far as I'm concerned.”

He also said he would have no problem with serving in cabinet under Leo Varadkar if it came to that.

Earlier: An Independent Alliance Minister has moved to defend Leo Varadkar in the Fine Gael leadership race.

On Monday, Minister Varadkar announced he would make Labour Court recommendations binding on employers and workers in "essential services".

It would prevent certain workers from going on strike.

Speaking this morning Junior Minister John Halligan thinks Mr Varadkar's quote was misunderstood.

He said: "Well I think he may have been misquoted in a sense, and I'll tell you why.

"I'm a great believer in a negotiated settlement for all disputes, and I've been in a trade union all my life.

"Now, what I have found disconcerting and I have always found unacceptable is that, when either management would go to Labour Court or workers would go to Labour Court, the Labour Court would make a recommendation and then it would not be upheld."

Related Articles

Leo Varadkar 'considering Simon Coveney for Tánaiste'

Reaction: Labour say Leo Varadkar must 'unite our people'; Gerry Adams urges him to call an election

Leo Varadkar: Meet the man who will lead Fine Gael

Result: Leo Varadkar denies split in Fine Gael after he wins leadership contest

More in this Section

Ibrahim Halawa released from prison in Egypt

WRC talks between trade unions and Irish Rail end without agreement

Taoiseach: Banks have dragged their heels too long over tracker scandal

Sinn Féin's former assembly member Caitriona Ruane quits Stormont role

Today's Stories

Bail for man, 60, accused of sexually assaulting four women in Cork

HSE to explain why it paid 600% drug price rise

River Lee’s first new bridge in decade installed

Drink driver caught for 11th time is jailed


Why a good breakfast is a must for your kids

Facing fears while terrifying punters at Cork's Nightmare Realm

Weathering the storm of 1961: We watched 30 large trees uprooted

Remembering the dead: Poignant reason behind Cork’s Zombie Walk

More From The Irish Examiner