Friday 22 September 2017

Winner or loser? Varadkar makes the call

Cheers and a few tears greeted news of the new Taoiseach's first Cabinet, with more changes to come, writes Philip Ryan

In crowd: President Michael D Higgins (front centre) with newly-elected Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to his right, pictured with members of Mr Varadkar’s first Cabinet in the Dail last week. Photo: Maxwells Dublin
In crowd: President Michael D Higgins (front centre) with newly-elected Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to his right, pictured with members of Mr Varadkar’s first Cabinet in the Dail last week. Photo: Maxwells Dublin
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Michael Ring didn't know what to do. He was hopeful of a Cabinet appointment but didn't want to be over-confident. At 10.30am on Wednesday he was dithering over whether to tell his wife Anne to get the last train to Dublin which left Westport, Co Mayo at 1pm.

Speculation was rife that Leo Varadkar would promote him should he become the next Taoiseach. This newspaper reported on the first Sunday of the Fine Gael leadership contest that Ring would be made a Cabinet minister after he played a prominent role in Varadkar's campaign launch. Throughout the campaign he was mentioned as one of a small number of politicians due to benefit from a Varadkar election win. There was some talk he would get Social Protection but he wanted a more rural-focused portfolio.

At around 6pm on Wednesday, Ring's private secretary came into his office and said the newly-elected Taoiseach hoped to speak to him in his office in Government Buildings in 45 minutes. Ring took a deep breath, stood up and made his way over to Varadkar's office. Along the way the popular TD was cheered on by the assembled media waiting to see who would get the nod from the new Taoiseach.

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