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FG leadership race: Fitzgerald expected to announce for Varadkar

FG leadership race: Fitzgerald expected to announce for Varadkar

Several members of cabinet are expected to make an appearance at the launch.

Clare TD and Junior Minister Pat Breen is the latest to join the Varadkar camp, announcing it this morning.

Kate O'Connell, who's campaigning for Minister Simon Coveney, told a meeting in Clare last night that Minister Varadkar doesn't understand the needs of rural Ireland.

"I'm not counting my chickens", Mr Varadkar, the social protection minister, said.

As reported in the Irish Examiner, Coveney team members made the claim as they insisted the race to replace Enda Kenny is not over and that they were always expecting to focus on councillor and grassroots support to gain power.

Pat Breen's support means that Mr Varadkar is on course today to get the public backing of 40 or more members of the parliamentary party.

Right now the scale of the challenge is huge for the Housing Minister.

This group of TDs, Senators and MEPs represent the biggest share of the vote to elect a Fine Gael leader and ultimately a new Taoiseach.