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25th May 2017

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney to face off for the first time on Thursday night


Let the battle commence.

The two men hoping to become the next Taoiseach will face off in their first debate on Thursday night. Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney will meet in the first of four debates being organised by Fine Gael.

The party has blocked any plans for either Varadkar or Coveney to take part in any live television or radio debates in order to keep the leadership tussle on the down low as much as possible.

Fine Gael have arranged four nights of debates around the country. The first, which will be streamed through the Fine Gael Facebook page, takes place in Dublin’s Red Cow Hotel.

The debate on Thursday night will be hosted by Gavin Duffy, best known for his role on RTE’s Dragons’ Den.

Coveney, who trails significantly in terms of parliamentary support, has criticised Varadkar’s focus on Ireland’s workforce, which he believes will be the detriment of those currently not employed in permanent, full-time roles.
Varadkar, in turn, has dismissed Coveney’s aspiration to represent a United Ireland, insisting this had been the goal of Fine Gael for generations.

Many Fine Gael members are set to be swayed in the next four days and although Varadkar is the clear favourite at the moment, Coveney insists he can swing the momentum in his favour by swinging six votes in his favour and winning the support of the majority of the party’s members and councillors.

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