Monday 24 July 2017

The five areas that will be priorities for new Taoiseach

Leo Varadkar newly elected leader of Fine Gael
Leo Varadkar newly elected leader of Fine Gael

Brexit - Leo Varadkar will have less than 10 days to prepare for his first European Council meeting if, as expected, he is elected Taoiseach next week. It will be the first Council meeting after the UK election and will be dominated by the upcoming Brexit talks. Mr Varadkar wants to protect citizens' rights between Ireland and the UK and to ensure the Border remains "invisible".

Northern Ireland - Restoring the Executive after its collapse earlier this year is high on the agenda. Mr Varadkar wants renewed talks between the parties in the North after the UK election is over to try to reach a deal on forming a new power-sharing Executive.

Public Pay Deal - The Fine Gael leadership race coincided with the start of talks with public sector workers on the tricky matter of a new pay deal. Mr Varadkar would like to see the talks conclude before the Dáil's summer recess.

Capital investment - Mr Varadkar has outlined an "ambitious" capital spending plan which would be informed by some of the proposals he raised during the Fine Gael contest. Plans to progress the Dublin Metro and M20 motorway are among the projects he wants to see happen in the future.

Budget 2018 - The summer will see tax and spending measures thrashed out between departments. Independent ministers will have demands, and there will be input from Fianna Fáil to take into consideration as well. Mr Varadkar will want a successful first Budget - but expect all sides to seek to claim victories.

Irish Independent

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