Meath-based Member of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, is backing simon Coveney in the race for the Fine Gael leadership.
She said: "I have given a lot of thought about who I believe is best placed to lead the country and our party, and I believe that person is Simon Coveney.
"He has shown particular grit and determination in this campaign, refusing to concede the contest when many believed he would do so."
She said that, in sticking to the race, he has shown a particular passion for leadership and he has also demonstrated an important leadership attribute in not giving up when the going gets tough
"He has taken his message to the country - to the membership - and the party is the better for that open and frank debate about the direction our party should take," the MEP stated.
"At at time when there are deep divisions at EU level and parties seek to divide citizens, I believe that Simon’s message about unity and representing all citizens is a particularly important one.
"I admire his determination to bring that message to our membership and for raising the campaign by robust debate at the hustings. He has shown that he is a fighter and at the same time he has shown how he is capable of uniting people.
"I have known Simon since 2004, when he served as a member of the European Parliament and gained huge respect for his work on a whole range of issues, including human rights."
Ms McGuinness said the Cork TD is highly regarded by EPP colleagues and many are fascinated by the campaign for party leadership.
"As Minister for Agriculture he worked tirelessly on reform of the CAP, an issue that I worked closely with him on. I have seen at first hand his capacity to listen. It is that capacity to listen which will be especially important as taoiseach and party leader.
"Simon Coveney is tough when he needs to be and caring where that too is required. His concern about homelessness is deep and having dealt with him on homelessness issues I know that he is passionate about finding solutions to restore people's dignity and their lives," the Drumconrath MEP stated.