Fine Gael leadership meeting underway

The crucial meeting to decide the future leadership of Fine Gael is underway at Leinster House.

The crucial meeting to decide the future leadership of Fine Gael is underway at Leinster House.

Meath TD John Bruton - a former Taoiseach and leader of the party for the past ten years - is being challenged by Michael Noonan and Jim Mitchell.

A result is expected before teatime.

Deputy Mitchell told Limerick radio station Live 95 this afternoon that "the party has been given an overwhelming mandate for change, but it will be a close ballot".

On entering Leinster House, Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Chairman Phil Hogan said he was fearful of divisions emerging within the organisation that would take a long time to heal.

A surprise may also be on the cards.

Mayo TD Michael Ring has not declared which way he will vote at the make-or-break encounter, but did divulge that he has been approached by those seeking an alternative to the declared leadership contenders.

He admitted to Mid West Radio this afternoon that he may stand as a compromise candidate.

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