Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has rejected suggestions that his decision to endorse a high-profile independent candidate in the Seanad election will annoy his own party.

The Fine Gael minister took the very unusual step today of backing a candidate from outside his party.

Mr Varadkar said he was backing Averil Power, who is contesting the Trinity College Dublin Seanad Panel, because of her leadership during the same-sex marriage referendum.

He also said the former Fianna Fáil Senator had always been constructive and non-partisan in the Upper House of the Oireachtas.

The TD for Dublin West said that is the way the Seanad should work and it should not be controlled by political parties.