IrelandMorning Briefing

Thursday’s Top Stories: Contest for next taoiseach gets under way; Men on horseback cause traffic disruption at protest in Coolock

Here are the stories you need to start your day including Jennifer Bray’s analysis on why Leo Varadkar is stepping down now

Leo Varadkar resignation: Simon Harris in pole position as contest for next taoiseach gets under way

The day after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s surprise resignation finds Fine Gael, the Coalition Government and the Dáil more widely adjusting to what the job opening means for their future.

In the party, thoughts turn to succession. Simon Harris, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, has emerged as an early frontrunner. Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and Heather Humphreys, the Minister for Social Protection and Rural and Community Development, are also thought to be serious contenders should they choose to run - while Minister for Justice Helen McEntee’s star has dimmed after challenges in the portfolio.

Developments will come quickly: after a meeting of the Fine Gael executive on Wednesday night, a tight timeline is set, with nominations opening today and closing on Monday morning.

Leo Varadkar resignation

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