Just one local Fine Gael representative has publicly declared who they feel should replace Enda Kenny as Taoiseach

Just one local Fine Gael representative has publicly declared who they feel should replace Enda Kenny as Taoiseach

Just one of the elected Fine Gael representatives in Co Louth has publicly made up their mind on who should succeed Enda Kenny as party leader and Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny stepped down from both roles at midnight last night with the battle to succeed him now underway.

A new leader is expected by Friday June 2nd but with Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney the two favourites, just one of the nine elected representatives in Louth has publicly stated who they will be backing.

Drogheda-based Councillor Oliver Tully, who was chairman of Louth County Council in 2011-2012 and 2014-2015, is lending his backing to Varadkar.

Enda Kenny in Dundalk with Young Fine Gael members in 2014

However, the remainder of the Fine Gael councillors in Louth – Colm Markey, Dolories Minogue, Richie Culhane, John McGahon and Maria Doyle – are still undecided, publicly at least.

That’s according to the Fine Gael Leadership Tracker put together by The Irish Times which gives an indication how parliamentary party members and councillors plan to vote.

According to the tracker, Varadkar has so far secured 20% of the vote, with Coveney behind on 14%.

There remains a large proportion of undecided voters, including both local TDs Fergus O’Dowd and Peter Fitzpatrick and local MEP Mairead McGuinness.

Rank and file members of the party also have a vote but are not calculated in the tracker as their numbers are as high as 25,000.

The contest will be decided using a weighted voting system across three electoral colleges – the parliamentary party, councillors and party members.

Votes by parliamentary party members (TDs, Senators and MEPs) have more weight than the other colleges. Rank-and-file members are given more voting strength than councillors, but substantially less than the parliamentary party.

The parliamentary party holds the whip hand with 65 per cent of the voting strength, with councillors allocated 10 per cent and rank and file members 25 per cent.

Given that there are 73 members of the parliamentary party at present, each member represents 0.9 per cent of the total electorate.

Yesterday, the two Dundalk-based Fine Gael councillors Maria Doyle and John McGahon praised Enda Kenny’s contribution to Ireland via Twitter.

Cllr Doyle said he “lead our country well through difficult times” while Cllr McGahon said Fine Gael owed him a “hughe debt of gratitude for his exceptional leadership of our party and the country.”

Pictured above main: Local TD Peter Fitzpatrick and local MEP Mairead McGuinness with outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny

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