Leo Varadkar now has the support of 45 of the 73 members of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party in the race to be the next leader.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, junior ministers Michael Ring and Catherine Byrne, and Senator Joe O’Reilly are among those who declared for him today.
He now has a virtually unassailable lead as Simon Coveney would require around three quarters of Councillors and the wider membership.
Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin indicated earlier this week that he would be supporting Leo Varadkar.
Radio Kerry News contacted Fine Gael’s nine Kerry county councillors.
Five of the nine – Cllrs Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, Mike Kennelly, Pat McCarthy, Liam Purtill and Jim Finucane – say they’ll be backing Simon Coveney.
Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen says he’s supporting Leo Varadkar.
Cllr Bobby O’Connell says as general secretary of the Local Authority Members’ Association it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to disclose for whom he’ll vote.
Cllrs Aoife Thornton and John Sheahan were not contactable.