Howlin: Varadkar's Cabinet won't bring "fundamental change"

The Labour said there were "a lot of annoyed people" within the party

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has complained that the newly-appointed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's Cabinet is just "a re-presentation" of Enda Kenny's.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Howlin said that despite a push from members of Fine Gael to oust Kenny on the basis that Varadkar would implement sweeping reforms, his initial days as leader have been seen as lacking "fundamental change".

"[There's] an awful lot of annoyed people within Fine Gael," he said. 

Howlin also called Varadkar's decision to amalgamate the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure "odd".

"The prospect of one Minister being able to deal with the completion of the banking system, reforms on fiscal policy within the European Union [...] And at the same time be involved in the reform agenda of the public service and the transparency agenda in public life." 

Election 

Howlin predicted a General Election would be called for spring 2018.

"It's a bad position for the State. We need to have a government with authority who can make decisions that are in the best interests of the people.

"I think they'll get through the next budget, but it will be the last."

Appointment of Maire Whelan

Earlier this week, former government advisor Maire Whelan was appointed to the Court of Appeal without having applied for it.

While assuring that she was qualified for the job, Howlin said it was "not right".

"We pushed hard in government for transparency in public appointments," he said. "We need to ensure that any position is done on the basis of, not only merit but demonstrable merit."