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Michael Noonan tips Paschal Donohoe to become Fine Gael leader

The Finance Minister said his Cabinet colleague “has all the qualities” to lead the party.

Former, future and current leaders? Michael Noonan, Paschal Donohoe and Enda Kenny during the announcement of Budget2017 in the Dáil yesterday.
Former, future and current leaders? Michael Noonan, Paschal Donohoe and Enda Kenny during the announcement of Budget2017 in the Dáil yesterday.
Image: Oireachtas TV

MINISTER FOR FINANCE Michael Noonan has tipped his ministerial colleague Paschal Donohoe for the leadership of Fine Gael.

With ongoing speculation about how long Enda Kenny will remain as Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said he expected the Government to last to the next Budget.

“Stable countries are governed from the centre,” added Noonan, who quoted the WB Yeats poem the Second Coming, written in the 1930s, which he says reflects today’s political situation in Europe and the United State.

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Asked whether he will be there for the next Budget, Noonan also said people were “predicting my demise for a long time”.

“I don’t know what the future holds, neither do you,” he said on Today With Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ.

Asked whether he was surprised that Donohoe “won’t let his name go forward” for the Fine Gael leadership, Noonan said:

“Who, Paschal? Well there’s no vacancy yet, isn’t he very wise not to apply to a job that isn’t there yet?

He certainly has all the qualities of a future leader but the timing is very important.

Paschal added: “As Michael has already clearly outlined, there’s no vacancy there, we know that’s the case and as this morning has already demonstrated, I already have my hands full.”

Donohoe also said that the €5 social welfare increase announced in the Budget will be outlined by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar in a forthcoming Social Welfare Bill.

Michael Noonan added that the Budget was not in breach of European rules, and that he wasn’t concerned about it. He said was had to pay €280 million in levies to the EU after the CSO said Ireland had recorded 26% GDP growth.

Read: The contenders for the Fine Gael leadership, from most to least likely

Read: Leo would make a better leader of Fine Gael – poll

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