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Cork City Council elected councillors from Fine Gael back Simon Coveney for party leadership.Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Lord Mayor Cllr Des Cahill, Cllr Laura McGonigle, Cllr PJ Hourican and Cllr John Buttimer.Pic: Larry Cummins
Cork City Council elected councillors from Fine Gael back Simon Coveney for party leadership.Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Lord Mayor Cllr Des Cahill, Cllr Laura McGonigle, Cllr PJ Hourican and Cllr John Buttimer.Pic: Larry Cummins
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Simon Coveney kicks off leadership race with support from Cork councillors

MINISTER Simon Coveney officially began his race for the position of Fine Gael leader today.

He is seeking to become the first Cork Taoiseach since Jack Lynch and the first ever Fine Gael leader from Cork, filling the vacancy created by Enda Kenny's retirement last night.

He will hold a major rally in Cork city centre on Saturday evening to launch his campaign and lockdown local support, before a policy-focused launch in Dublin on Sunday.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar is expected to officially enter the race tomorrow, while Richard Bruton and Frances Fitzgerald both ruled themselves out.

If elected Fine Gael leader, Minister Simon Coveney will likely become the first Cork Taoiseach since Jack Lynch. Picture Dan Linehan.
If elected Fine Gael leader, Minister Simon Coveney will likely become the first Cork Taoiseach since Jack Lynch. Picture Dan Linehan.

One of four debates between the candidates will take place in Cork on Friday, May 26. 

The race will conclude on June 2, and the new leader is expected to be made Taoiseach on June 13, the next Dáil sitting after the election.