Fine Gael’s next leader


A chara, – The Fine Gael leadership contest that was played out over the last few weeks garnered – rightly or wrongly – saturation media coverage for the party and consequently a bump in the opinion polls.

Yet despite all his free party political advertisement, it seems that some Fine Gael supporters are never happy, if some of the responses to Oliver Callan’s opinion piece “Leo and Simon are the brand leading the bland” are anything to go by (Opinion & Analysis, May 29th).

Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar are vying not only for the leadership of Fine Gael but also for the position of taoiseach, and as such the “promises” and policies espoused by the two candidates, as well as their personalities, are legitimate subjects for general scrutiny and analysis, in any form.

The fact that Oliver Callan’s opinion of Mr Coveney and Mr Varadkar does not sit well with some does not change the fact that Callan has proven himself to be an astute and witty political observer and commentator who is always worth a read.

It is mere partisan petulance to attack the credibility and integrity of an opinion writer simply because he may have offended one’s political sensitivities. – Is mise,



Dublin 12.

Sir, – Oliver Callan digs deep to assemble a random collection of shallow personalised jibes to throw at the candidates for the leadership of the Fine Gael party. In his final flourish he contrives to blame them for the accident that they were born into relatively well-off families who chose to send them to fee-paying schools. The schools and families in question can be proud of their part in producing two able and well-motivated people, each of whom would be capable of effectively leading both the Fine Gael party and the Government.

The high standard of the issue-based discussion, which has taken place between the candidates, contrasts sharply with Oliver Callan’s bilious divisive approach to political debate. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – Leo Varadkar’s early thrust for the Fine Gael leadership has rendered the intended emphasis on greater democracy in the selection process meaningless. The laudable intent of broadening the voting base has been undermined. In addition, the public declarations of support from Oireachtas members smacks very much of early jousting for ministerial position, which may place those independent thinkers who stood apart from the initial tsunami of orchestrated enthusiasm at a disadvantage. In the past Fine Gael has shown much greater sensitivity in choosing its leaders. Simon Coveney has bounced back and has demonstrated immense courage and statesmanship in a contest where lesser mortals would not have survived. – Is mise,



Co Clare.

Sir, – It might have been good to have our country led by someone with a business background; it could have improved things. Mr Coveney should have known that the politicians in the Pale and their circle (supported by the Pale-focused media) were never going to allow someone from Cork to break their hold and power by leading their party. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.

Sir, – The Simon and Leo debates make me nod off. Rouse me when it’s all over. On second thoughts, let me slumber on. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.