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Coveney sticks to his guns and says the race is still very much on

The embattled housing minister said last night that ‘second thoughts are not my style’.

8863 Simon Coveney_90512125 Simon Coveney, pictured at his own campaign last Thursday Source: Sam Boal

TODAY THE FINE Gael leadership race officially begins.

It may feel like it has been running for days, but what has come before was the phoney war – nominations only officially closed last night.

Simon Coveney has had a rough 48 hours – with TDs and ministers flocking to support his rival Leo Varadkar in their droves.

At one stage yesterday, with Coveney cancelling a scheduled afternoon appearance, it had seemed like he was set to throw in the towel before the race had even begun.

But, speaking at a leadership rally in his home county of Cork last night, Coveney insisted there is still some distance to run in this race.

Arriving at the rally earlier, he said that “second thoughts are not my style”.

The Irish Independent this morning reports that Coveney was convinced to stay in the race following a phone call of support from outgoing Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, despite suggestions from elsewhere in the party that Coveney can only do himself damage by staying in a race that he cannot win.

Whether that be the case or no, the Housing Minister will this morning launch his policy priorities for the coming contest at the Dean Hotel in Dublin.

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It will be his first appearance in Dublin since Leo Varadkar’s 48 hours of shock and political awe finally came to a close.

Whether his reappearance is too little too late remains to be seen.

Varadkar himself, meanwhile rose early this morning, as is his wont, to compete in the Streets of Dublin 5km road race along with campaign manager Eoghan Murphy.

He appears to be quite comfortable with the idea of Coveney staying in the race, but then he can afford to be.

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