BY TIM LOMBARD
I AM supporting Simon Coveney’s bid to become the leader of Fine Gael because I believe, not only in his vision, but in his ability to negotiate this bright future for Ireland. This is a huge opportunity for Cork, a rare chance for Fine Gael to have a Cork Taoiseach.
Thirty years ago we had the chance to elect Peter Barry as leader of Fine Gael, we failed to do that and it was a missed opportunity. We must learn from mistakes of the past, and Cork will be let down if our Oireachtas colleagues do not unite behind
our candidate. Simon wants to instil a belief that Ireland is a passionate and innovative country, where we promote entrepreneurship and investment in our economy; where we encourage people to upskill, to challenge themselves and make the most of their potential; but most importantly that we are a country that unites to ensure no-one is left behind.
One of Simon’s key priorities is to rebalance Ireland, to restructure our systems so that communities on the periphery of Dublin are no longer left out in the cold. Our geography is significant – Cork is the largest county, with both urban and rural populations. As a Cork Minister, Simon has the perspective and understanding of what is needed to improve Irish communities outside the bubble of Dublin.
Minister Coveney once described politics as his dream job; he thrives on his work, he wants to improve our country and knows how privileged he is to be in a position to do so.
His work ethic is incredible; finding and delivering solutions, steering change in every Department he has worked in, and never shirking a challenge.
Importantly, Simon has a proven track record in political negotiation. As a former member of the European Parliament he is prepared to tackle the challenges Ireland will encounter during the on-going Brexit negotiations.
I think Fine Gael needs this leadership contest to help define and reiterate our core values and direction for the future. This is a democracy.
Simon understands the importance of grassroots and how we, as public representatives, must do exactly that and represent public opinion.
Simon’s leadership bid is about allowing the 21,000 members to engage in the process, to listen to the policies and ultimately make an informed decision. This is what Fine Gael stands for: equal opportunity, integrity, security and most of all hope.
I hope that all Fine Gael voters will express their opinion about the leadership of our party.
I hope that Simon Coveney is rewarded for his years of dedication, hard work and for consistently delivering the best possible outcomes for Ireland.
And I hope that we, as Fine Gael, will emerge from this campaign a stronger party, with a united vison and the best candidate leading us towards this ambition. I believe that person is Simon Coveney.