Clare TD's support for next Taoiseach 'under review'

Dr Michael Harty says he will be 'very interested' in the new Taoiseach's view on a new healthcare report

Clare TD's support for next Taoiseach 'under review'

Picture by: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

Independent TD Dr Michael Harty says his position is 'under review' regarding whether he will support the new Taoiseach.

The Clare deputy often votes with the Government - however, he has no formal agreement.

Polling is continuing today to choose a replacement for Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader - with Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney the only two candidates in the race.

Fine Gael members began voting yesterday and the result will be announced on Friday, with turnout in the leadership election so far at 53%.

Once the party has chosen its new leader, the Dáil will then need to vote to accept the successful candidate as Taoiseach.

Dr Harty, however, says he has not made up his mind yet.

"My position is under review," he explained on Newstalk Drive.

"On the last occasion, I voted for Enda Kenny mainly because, on the morning of that vote, it was unclear whether there would be a government formed or not. I thought it was the responsibility of all TDs who had been elected on the last occasion to form a Government."

He added: "This is something new. It's 15 months later, and I haven't made up my mind in relation to what I will do.

"Certainly I will be very interested in the new Taoiseach's attitude towards the report that came out this morning on the future of healthcare [...] I will certainly be looking for a commitment from the new Taoiseach that he will deliver on that."

The re-election of Enda Kenny required Fianna Fáil to abstain from voting in the Dáil, as agreed in the two largest parties' confidence and supply agreement.

The current Fine Gael minority government includes members of the Independent Alliance and a number of independent deputies.

Earlier, Independent TD Denis Naughten said it would not make sense to change all of the Cabinet positions in a reshuffle under a new Taoiseach.