Two frontrunners in race to succeed Enda Kenny

Meanwhile, the party has revealed details of how Enda Kenny's successor will be chosen, with the party using an electoral college system for the first time.

Varadkar, whose father was born in Mumbai, was first elected to Parliament in 2007, being appointed to his current ministerial post just past year.

"Most importantly I want to take the country forward".

"And also devolving a new social contract".

Speaking to the Leinster Express Cllr Mulhall praised his outgoing leader and Taoiseach and wished him well on his retirement.

"He is the most substantial and capable politician of my generation", Mr Donohoe told Newstalk.

Deputy Peter Burke released a statement at lunchtime today announcing his support for Minister Varadkar in the leadership contest. It said 13 backed Coveney.

Mr Donohoe said it is a matter for the next taoiseach whether he would have a Cabinet role, refusing to say whether he would seek the role of Minister for Finance.

Mr Coveney has supporters including Health Minister Simon Harris and Senator James Reilly. He has a very tough job at the moment as Minister for Housing.

The 66-year-old had been under pressure to resign from factions within his own party that were dissatisfied with his leadership.

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We were drowning, ' she's seen saying to him, and, seemingly near tears, she notes that 'It was your job to protect us'. Lionsgate has dropped the first trailer for the film.

Minister of State Paul Kehoe, Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd and Sligo TD Tony McLoughlin have also confirmed their support for Mr Varadkar.

"He was good for the party", the Emo councillor said of the Mayo TD.

But Kenny said he would remain on as Prime Minister until a new party leader was elected.

Other members of the parliamentary party have signaled they too will make their intentions known.

Mr Varadkar sought to set a strong early pace by organising a large number of declarations for his candidacy.

The contest will include four hustings in Dublin, Carlow, Ballinasloe and Cork over four nights from next Thursday.

"His leadership of Fine Gael since 2002 has brought us to our most successful period in Government as the largest Party in Dáil Éireann for the last two terms".

He subsequently became the first Fine Gael Taoiseach to be elected to a second consecutive term on 6 May 2016, after two months of negotiations following the 2016 election, forming a Fine Gael-led minority government.

And she said there are few who have given public service to the extent that Enda Kenny has done.

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