Coveney supporters say he is the only option for Tánaiste

Coveney supporters say he is the only option for Tánaiste

Simon Coveney, who is tipped to be Tánaiste, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

MINISTER for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is the “only man for job” of Tánaiste, his supporters have told Leo Varadkar.

A decision is expected to be made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on a replacement Tánaiste in the coming days following the resignation yesterday of Frances Fitzgerald.

Senator Tim Lombard, who was heavily involved in Mr Coveney’s leadership campaign against Mr Varadkar, insists that Mr Coveney has the backing of the party.

"When it comes to the Tánaiste, there is only one man for the job, Simon Coveney," Mr Lombard said.

"He ran an excellent leadership campaign a few months ago and has shown himself to be very adept in the party. It would be very appropriate for him to be appointed to the role."

A decision is expected to be made today or tomorrow, with Mr Coveney among the favourites.

However, there are a number of other high profile candidates in contention, too, with Paschal Donohoe, John Bruton and Heather Humphreys all reported to be in the running.

Mr Lombard said that Mr Coveney is the obvious choice.

"It would help with geographical balance, too. We had a Taoiseach and Tánaiste from Dublin and that should change now. We need a Tánaiste for Cork," he said.

The Fine Gael senator said that the party is 'bruised' after a turbulent week but said that they will pick themselves up and move on.

"We just need some clarity in terms of the roles so that we can move forward," he said.

"The next few weeks, including the Brexit negotiations on December 14, are some of the most important talks we will face in decades so we need to be in good shape for those."

Senator Jerry Buttimer has also backed Mr Coveney to take over the role.

“I think Simon Coveney would be an excellent Tánaiste,” he said.

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