Thursday 27 October 2016

Ross among three new Independent ministers

Naughten and Zappone also in line for Cabinet

Kevin Doyle, Cormac McQuinn

Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30

Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross Photo: Tom Burke
Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross Photo: Tom Burke

Independent TDs Shane Ross, Denis Naughten and Katherine Zappone are expected to become Cabinet ministers today in a minority government.

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Commitments on housing, health and rural Ireland are at the heart of a deal to return Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

The Fine Gael leader told Independents last night that after 70 days of a political vacuum it was "decision time" and a fourth vote on his nomination for Taoiseach will take place at midday today.

A 156-page Programme for Government is weighted towards rural Ireland, which sets out homelessness and health as the biggest challenges .

The deal promises to end the housing crisis by boosting construction, and helping first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. An all-party committee will be set up to find a "new vision" for the health service.

But rural Ireland is the real focus of the new government with special recognition for turf cutters, funding increases for transport and commitments on broadband. A pilot scheme will see some rural garda stations re-opened and no small schools will be closed without the consent of parents.

After his re-election as Taoiseach, Mr Kenny will appoint a Cabinet made up of 11 Fine Gael TDs and three Independents, expected to be Mr Ross, Mr Naughten and Ms Zappone.

Irish Independent

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