Eyes on the prize - Praising ministers

IT isn’t very often that Government ministers get praise heaped on them by advocates of justice and social cohesion but it happened twice this week.

Firstly, Simon Coveney’s staked his reputation and political future on solving the housing crisis, drawing support from a variety of quarters for his detailed plans to build more homes and end the scandal of homelessness.

Yesterday Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said he favoured indexing social welfare payments to protect the less well-off — drawing praise from Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, but, perhaps, surprising his Cabinet colleagues with his solo run.

It is hardly a coincidence that both ministers are the clear frontrunners to succeed Enda Kenny as leader of Fine Gael.

Earlier this month, both Mr Coveney and Mr Varadkar played down a leadership battle as the Taoiseach faced mounting pressure to state when he will step down. But there appears to be little doubt they are already setting out their stalls when the position of party leader becomes vacant.


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