Voting for new Fine Gael leader to begin

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney faced off in the final Fine Gael leadership debate last night.

The two clashed on issues like the property tax and both attacked each other's plans for the party.

Voting will begin this evening in a process that will see one of them elected leader on Friday.

Leo Varadkar said regardless of the outcome he would help to unite Fine Gael.

"For those of you who don't vote for me in the week ahead, if I am elected as party leader I will do my best to gain your confidence and support in the years ahead and I know you'll be open to doing exactly that.

"Because we are a party, we are Fine Gael, we're not Simon versus Leo, we're not Cork versus Dublin, we're not rural versus urban - we're Fine Gael, we're one party, and this time next week we will stand united behind our new leader to bring our party and our country forward," he said.

While Simon Coveney suggested they look to the past for inspiration for the future.

"We need to be a party that is about building a fairer, stronger society, as well as of course a party that builds a platform of a strong economy.

"Actually, if you need further proof of it, before the phenomenon of Enda Kenny look back at when Fine Gael was at its most powerful, when it had its most momentum - it was when Garret FitzGerald in the early 80s was actually changing society as well as building an economy," he said.

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