Updated: 24/02/17 : 12:17:10
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Varadkar hopes his personal life is not an issue in leadership race

The Minister for Social Protection says he hopes others won’t make an issue of his personal life once the Fine Gael leadership race gets underway.

Enda Kenny has said he will deal with the leadership issue after his trip to the US for St Patrick’s Day.

Some newspapers have sought to compare the family status of Leo Varadkar, and the other expected frontrunner, Housing Minister Simon Coveney.

But Minister Varadkar says he hopes a leader will be chosen on merit.

"Well I suppose, like any contest that does happen, I'd like it not to be about personalities but people's vision for the country and also about people's different ideas about how we can turn Fine Gael into a fighting force again.

"I'm not going to make my personal life or my family life an issue in any campaign and I hope and trust that others won't wither."