Wednesday, 18th October 2017
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We are fortunate in FG to have two excellent candidates in our leadership contest - both highly intelligent and qualified candidates

This election has added significance because the winner of the contest will also be nominated Taoiseach of our country

I’ve worked closely with Simon when he was an MEP, TD and Minister and I believe that his experience of European affairs is more advantageous to Ireland as the next Taoiseach faces into the next round of negotiations on Brexit.

This is especially important for Waterford and the South East which has a very strong agri-food and dairy sector, this sector is exposed due to Brexit and we need to have our strongest negotiators led by the next Taoiseach at the EU table to protect our countys and countrys interests.

- Simons deep understanding of the agri sector as a former Minister for agriculture and Chair of the EU Council of Ministers will be critical in the Brexit negotiations

Simon also has a real understanding of both urban and rural challenges in this country and has a vision and a plan to lead and rebuild and bring together our people and our society.

He has developed his National Planning Framework Ireland 2040 plan that Ive no doubt will ensure Irelands regions and cities are prioritised and developed -

This means that Waterford city and the South East region will benefit from major capital infrastructure developments to build capacity in our city to grow and double in its size over the next 10-20 years and become a real driver foir not just county Waterford but the entire region.

Hr proposes to appoint a new Minister for infrastructure to drive this investment and development and this ties in with recent major development proposals for Waterford city.

I’ve ensured that Minister Coveney is fully aware of Waterford Citys and Countys needs in this respect and he is very supportive of ensuring that the necessary infrastructure investment is made to give the city and the region the tools to make it happen.

I have consulted with FG members and councillors in Waterford and I know from listening to them that the majority of them share my view that Simon Coveney as Taoiseach is better for Waterford and for Ireland - todays Irish Times opinion poll reflects this.

Some public representatives waited to see what way the wind was blowing in the early part of this contest and then declared for Leo - thats not my style and thats why I’m going with my gut instinct and political experience and acumen and thus declared for Simon - I genuinely believe he will be better for the Country as a whole and a unifying force.

I’m hopeful that those public representative who did wait and then declared for Leo will listen to their members and constituents and have a re-think and support Simon for leader and vote accordingly.

I believe Simon Coveney has all the attributes required to be our next Taoiseach but having said that when the contest is over it is my hope that the party will unite behind whichever of them is successful - I know I will

Waterford Fine Gael Deputy John Deasy has decided to support the nomination of Leo Varadkar.

The result of the nationwide voting of Fine Gael members will be known on Friday afternoon next around teatime.

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