Fine Gael deputy leader James Reilly has warned colleagues not to replace Taoiseach Enda Kenny with a “flashy” rival in an apparent attack on Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar’s leadership ambitions.
Mr Reilly said the reality is “people have had a painful experience of flashy leadership in the past” and that “there is no substitute for hard work and honest endeavour”.
In a staunch defence of Mr Kenny’s time in power, he urged colleagues not to buy into “flashy leadership” alternatives.
While Mr Reilly did not directly name any potential leadership rival, it is widely believed he was referring to Mr Varadkar, who enjoys a prominent public and media profile.
Among other potential leaders are Housing Minister Simon Coveney, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe.
Despite strongly indicating he has no plans to resign from his position until 2018 and strongly suggesting he will still be Taoiseach when Pope Francis travels to Ireland that year, talk about who will eventually replace Mr Kenny remains high on the agenda of Fine Gael TDs.
Recent reports claimed Mr Varadkar has the support of 30 of the party’s 49 TDs.
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