Varadkar holds negotiations with Independent Alliance

A number of the independents are reportedly seeking investment in projects within their own constituencies

Varadkar holds negotiations with Independent Alliance

Members of the Independent Alliance, Sean Canney, Finian McGrath, Shane Ross, John Halligan and Boxer Moran on their way into meetings with the new Fine Gael leader, 06-06-2017. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Members of the Independent Alliance have met with the new Fine Gael leader this evening to discuss their support for his appointment as Taoiseach.

A number of Alliance members are reportedly seeking investment in projects within their own constituencies in exchange for supporting Leo Varadkar.

The Transport Minister Shane Ross is pushing for the re-opening of Stepaside Garda station in Dublin, while Finian McGrath is expecting improvements to services at Beaumont hospital.

John Halligan meanwhile, is hoping for progress on a second catheterisation lab in Waterford Regional Hospital.

Taoiseach

Minister Varadkar will become Ireland’s next Taoiseach if he is confirmed to the position by a vote in the Dáil.

The incumbent Taoiseach, former Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, has indicated he will not step aside from his position until Minister Varadkar has the required number of votes in place.

On the way into talks this evening, Alliance members indicated they would also be pushing for further free votes on issues that are not in the Programme for Government.

Confidence and supply

Minister Varadkar is due to meet with the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin tomorrow.

Both parties will have to reaffirm their commitment to the confidence and supply arrangement that is currently propping up the minority government – or face a new round of elections.

The Fine Gael leader is also considering what to do with the ministerial positions held by his own party members.

The Finance Minister Michael Noonan has indicated his willingness to step away from Cabinet once the new Taoiseach is in place – meaning at least one leading position is up for grabs.

The Education Minister Richard Bruton this afternoon insisted that he is happy to serve in any position he is given:

“I am very committed to whatever job I am given and that has always been the case,” he said. “I have put a lot of energy into education and I will continue to do that.

“I will continue to that until I am told I am doing another job, if I am told.”

Talks will continue throughout the coming days ahead of the return of the Dáil next week.