Fine Gael leadership candidate Simon Coveney used a Tipperary hustings to declare that he is remaining in the race.
Despite falling behind rival Leo Varadker in the parliamentary party support, the Cork TD reminded those present that the electorate is made of 21,000, and not just 73.
“We are going to finish what we started in this process. This party made a decision a number of years ago that the next time we go through the process of electing a new Leader to take this party and this country forward, that we will change the way that will be done. That we will ensure every member of this party and ever public representative in this party will have there say. We have an electorate of 21,000, it is not an electorate of 73”, he said.
He was speaking at an overflow meeting in the Horse and Jockey Hotel to party members and councillors where he receieved an enthusiastic reaction to his decision to stay in the race.
Health Minister Simon Harris gave a rousing speech on how suitable Coveney was to lead the party.
Listening to the debate in Tipperary.
The candidate himself said he was energised by the campaign.
He continued – “I want to say a number of things to my Oireachtas colleagues, firstly I want to thank all of them, those who have supported me in the last 2 -3 days .
“Sometimes in politics like in life, swimming against the tide makes you stronger so that when the tide changes you can go in front, and that’s what we intend to to in this campaign.”
“This process that we are going through is about two things, choosing the right person to lead our party and also given the circumstances we are currently in its about choosing the right person to lead the country.
“Through all of the challenges, on the back of all of the dreams people in Ireland have , that government needs to intervene to help them to create. This party is different to other parties in Ireland.
“All of you who are hear tonight, you are here for a reason , you renew your membership each year and there is a reason why you come out each election year and between them and its because you believe in something”.