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Leo Varadkar is the people's favourite for next Fine Gael leader

That’s according to a new poll from Claire Byrne Live.

Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar.
Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE PEOPLE OF Ireland would prefer Leo Varadkar over Simon Coveney to be the next leader of Fine Gael – according to a new poll from Claire Byrne Live.

As the talk about Enda Kenny’s leadership – and when it will come to an end – rumbles on, this new Amárach poll shows that Varadkar has a clear lead ahead of Coveney in the popularity stakes.

A poll of Irish Independent readers today showed a distinctly different result, however –  40% said they thought Simon Coveney should be the next Taoiseach. Varadkar came second with 33%, Richard Bruton received 18% of the votes, Simon Harris got 8% and Francis Fitzgerald got 3%.

Earlier today, Education Minister Richard Bruton had to deal with questions about him possibly putting his name forward, while Health Minister Simon Harris had to tackle queries about a comment made about him in a Fine Gael Whatsapp group.

Meanwhile, Enda Kenny has been under increasing pressure to clarify a timeline for his retirement – pressure that’s coming from within his own party.

Q1. Who would you prefer to see as the next leader of Fine Gael?

  • Simon Coveney – 23%
  • Leo Varadkar – 35%
  • Richard Bruton – 6%
  • Simon Harris – 2%
  • Other – 8%
  • Don’t know – 26%

Respondents were also asked: When should Enda Kenny move aside as Fine Gael leader?

Perhaps surprisingly, most said he should leave immediately, with only 29% saying he should wait until after his trip to the United States for St Patrick’s Day.

  • Immediately – 37%
  • After St Patrick’s Day – 29%
  • At the Dáil summer recess – 16%
  • Next year – 6%
  • Other – 2%
  • Don’t know – 10%

In the third poll question, people were asked: Should schools be permitted to take religion into consideration when enrolling new pupils?

  • Yes – 30%
  • No – 63%
  • Don’t know – 7%

The poll was carried out by Amárach Research for Claire Byrne Live earlier today, on a panel that consists of over 1,000 Irish adults, all aged 18+.

Read: Harris takes aim at Flanagan’s ‘Sunday afternoon jokes’ as leadership contest rumbles on>

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