Fine Gael Leadership Race

Seeded over many years, Harris’ leadership campaign bore rapid fruit

The higher education minister had been preparing for this moment for a long time, and that preparation paid off

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with party colleagues, as he announces his resignation on Wednesday. PIcture: Fergal Phillips

In the end, Simon Harris’ campaign to become leader of Fine Gael was over before it began. But the ease of his victory belied the work that had happened behind the scenes over many years.

Leo Varadkar’s planned resignation had been kept a closely guarded secret, and aside from Simon Coveney, the rest of the Fine Gael cabinet ministers, including Harris, did not find out until the pre-cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning.

Once Varadkar had ...