Latest: Simon Coveney: ‘Urban or rural, council house or mansion, you all matter to us’

Latest: Simon Coveney: ‘Urban or rural, council house or mansion, you all matter to us’

Update 10.30pm: The final Fine Gael leadership debate has finished after a feisty clash between Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar came out swinging, accusing Mr Coveney of having a broad vision without achieving results. He was booed by sections of the crowd at points.

Simon Coveney said Leo Varadkar was only planning to look after certain sections of society.

He said Mr Varadkar’s vision “whereby we would focus on traditional core support bases for Fine Gael, maybe with a few add-ons in terms of broadening the appeal to the party, is very different to the vision I want for this party, which is effectively building a just society for the 21st century, where everybody in this city and this country, urban or rural, rich or poor, council house or mansion, you all matter to us.”

You can watch the Cork hustings here.


Update 9.10pm:The final Fine Gael leadership hustings is underway in Cork.

Leo Varadkar has come out on the front foot attacking a number of the policies suggested by Simon Coveney.

He's also said Fine Gael has enough enemies already without creating more within the party through this contest.

While Simon Coveney has talked about shining a light through cynical politics in Ireland.

A rowdy crowd in Cork has booed Mr Varadkar at times for attacking Mr Coveney.

Earlier: The final Fine Gael leadership hustings takes place this evening.

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney have been touring the country trying to drum up support for their leadership bids.

Simon Coveney has home advantage tonight as the final leadership debate takes place in the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs in his native Cork.

There have been hustings in Dublin, Carlow and Ballinasloe over the past few nights.

Simon Coveney is still trying to make up the lead conceded to Leo Varadkar among parliamentary party members - though the contest does look somewhat more even than it did a week ago.

It is the final chance for both candidates to debate each other in front of members this evening - and to land a killer blow before polls open for some 21,000 Fine Gael members to start voting tomorrow

That process will take until Friday, when we find out will be the new leader of Fine Gael, and the country.

    The road ahead:

    About 21,000 rank-and-file members have a vote, along with 232 party councillors.

    Voting for the eligible party members will take place nationwide at 26 polling stations on Monday May 29, Tuesday May 30, Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday June 1.

    The parliamentary party will meet and vote in Dublin on Friday, June 2. All votes will be brought to a National Count Centre in Dublin on that Friday, where they will be will be verified and counted under the supervision of the National Returning Officer.

    Votes will be weighted in accordance with the Fine Gael electoral college rules, with the 73 members of the Parliamentary Party (PP) accounting for 65% of the total vote, almost 21,000 party members accounting for 25% and 235 local representatives (232 councillors and 3 Údarás na Gaeltachta members) accounting for the remaining 10% of the vote.

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