Housing Minister Simon Coveney has strongly hit back at claims he lacks charisma, saying a new Taoiseach doesn't need an 'X factor' but needs to deliver, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.
Speaking in Dublin today at the formal launch of his campaign to succeed Enda Kenny, Mr Coveney was supported by ministers Simon Harris, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Damien English and David Stanton, most of whom hail from Munster.
Mr Coveney said his message will be built around “strong, positive government with big ideas”.
In a strong statement in a measured address, he said: “As far as I’m concerned I’m fighting for the soul of this party,” he said.
Mr Coveney said he believes the new leader should not just manage an economy but also focus on making people’s lives better.
He said his manifesto will be an attempt to “re-balance this country away from the dominance of Dublin so that rural people and rural parishes can believe in their futures again”.
Asked whether he has the X Factor, Mr Coveney said: “That depends on what you describe as the X Factor. For me it’s about honest, strong, deliver.
“I don’t think that a family living in a hotel room this evening is looking for a Taoiseach with X Factor. They are looking for a Taoiseach who’ll solve their problems.”
A short time later, supporters of Leo Varadkar held a press conference, where nine of the party’s 19 senators declared their support for the Social Protection Minister.
Opening the event, Senator Catherine Noone said he was the “best man for the job”.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Richard Bruton endorsed Mr Varadkar while declaring he would not be standing.