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Dáil rejects Varadkar, Martin and McDonald's bids to be Taoiseach

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (centre) with party TD's, speaks to the media on the plinth at Leinster House, Dublin, for the first sitting of the 33rd Dail. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (centre) with party TD's, speaks to the media on the plinth at Leinster House, Dublin, for the first sitting of the 33rd Dail. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (centre) with party TD's, speaks to the media on the plinth at Leinster House, Dublin, for the first sitting of the 33rd Dail. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

THE Dáil has rejected bids by Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Mary Lou McDonald to be the next Taoiseach.

TDs were this evening voting on four nominees for the role of head of government - Mr Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Mr Martin, Sinn Féin's Ms McDonald and Eamon Ryan of the Green Party.

Though Ms McDonald got the most votes in her favour no one has enough support in the divided Dáil to be elected today.

It is likely to take several weeks of painstaking government formation talks before anyone gets over the line.

A total of 107 TDs opposed Fine Gael leader Mr Varadkar's nomination to be returned as Taoiseach.

Galway East Independent TD Seán Canney was the only non-Fine Gael TD to vote for Mr Varadkar this evening.

It appears all 35 Fine Gael TDs voted for Mr Varadkar while sixteen other TDs abstained.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was also rejected - in his case by 97 votes to 41.

Nineteen TDs abstained.

Mr Martin was also backed by Mr Canney while Independents Cathal Berry, Noel Grealish and Michael McNamara also supported him.

Ms McDonald got the support of 45 TDs. That's Sinn Féin's 37 as well as the five Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs and Independents Catherine Connolly, Joan Collins and Thomas Pringle.

In total 84 TDs opposed Ms McDonald's bid to be Taoiseach and 29 abstained.

Mr Ryan only got the support of the 12 Green Party TDs.

115 TDs voted against him and 28 abstained.

Earlier, the Dáil heard claims about the leadership credentials of Mr Varadkar, Mr Martin, Ms McDonald and Mr Ryan.

Mr Varadkar's handling of Brexit and the economy have been cited as reasons the Fine Gael leader should be kept in office.

Fianna Fáil leader Mr Martin's "lifetime" of public service was referenced as he was nominated for the job.

Sinn Féin's Ms McDonald was said to be the only person that could lead a government of change.

And the importance of tackling climate change was raised as Green Party leader Mr Ryan was nominated.

Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan nominated Mr Varadkar.

Mr Durkan said that Mr Varadkar marshalled the forces of Europe to Ireland's side of the Brexit debate adding "that was no mean feat".

He said: "When job is done and completed satisfactorily it appears to be easy" and he said Mr Varadkar made it look easy.

First time Fianna Fáil TD Norma Foley nominated Mr Martin.

Ms Foley said Mr Martin is "determined to lead a government that doesn't just talk about change but actually delivers it."

She praised his work as Minister for Health and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

She said William Shakespeare wrote "to thine own self be true" and added: "In a lifetime distinguished by public service Micheál Martin has always remained true to himself, his people and his roots."

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said his party predicted the election would be the most important in a generation and that the result would be "seismic" and added: "it turned out to be just that".

He said more than 535,000 people gave Sinn Fein their number one vote and promised they would not be let down.

Mr Doherty said his party pledged to give workers and families a break and advance Irish unity.

He hit out at the "failed policies" of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

He claimed: "nobody in this Dáil can lead that government for change other than Mary Lou McDonald."

Mr Doherty added that she would be the first female Taoiseach and "that in itself is something that would really deliver change."

Joe O'Brien of the Green Party nominated Mr Ryan.

He told the story of a family in Portrane, Co Dublin whose home is threatened by coastal erosion.

Mr O'Brien said Ireland is getting wetter winters and more extreme weather and "we continue to make a mess of the planet".

However, he said there is hope and opportunity in the Dáil developing policies to tackle climate change which could include house building and improving public transport.

He said Mr Ryan showed "real leadership" when he "toiled away" when the Greens had no TDs. He said his party looks forward to government formation talks in the coming weeks and reminded the Dáil that young people are pleading for action on climate change.

Meanwhile, a new Dáil group led by former Climate Change Minister Denis Naughten has been established as TDs voted for a new Taoiseach.

The diverse group of nine rural TDs, including controversial members such as Verona Murphy and Noel Grealish, joined together to secure Dáil speaking time.

The ‘Regional Group’ membership also includes Michael Lowry, Cathal Berry, Sean Canney, Peter Fitzpatrick, Matt Shanahan and Peadar Toibin.

The group will compete against the Rural Independents to speak during debates.

In a statement the group said they will “operate as a technical group in Dáil Eireann for speaking time and the scheduling of parliamentary business”.

“The group was established following the decision by Dáil Eireann today to establish a business committee to progress the day-to-day operation of parliamentary business,” it added.

Online Editors