Path to Taoiseach's office cleared for Leo as Independent Alliance confirm they'll back him
THE way has been cleared for Leo Varadkar to be confirmed as the country’s next Taoiseach after the Independent Alliance confirmed they will support his election on Wednesday.
Mr Varadkar held a meeting with the Alliance’s five TDs this morning after which they recommitted themselves to the minority government.
The group, led by Transport Minister Shane Ross, met with the new Fine Gael leader earlier in the week but wanted a series of issues clarified before giving him their backing.
A spokesperson described today’s follow-up meeting as “very constructive”.
“Following the meeting, the five members of the Independent Alliance confirmed that they will be supporting Mr Varadkar in the vote for Taoiseach next week,” they said.
During the meeting Mr Ross, junior ministers John Halligan, Finian McGrath and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, and TD Sean Canney were given assurances that they will be allowed more free votes in the Dáil.
Mr Varadkar also said priority of will be given to ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
An agreement was also reached o accelerate certain pieces of legislation, including the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017, the Keeping People in Their Homes Bill 2017 and the Criminal Justice (Commission of Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2017.
They also discussed the need for government stability, Brexit, rural affairs and agreed to honour the commitments contained in the Programme for a Partnership Government.
Mr Vardakar has this afternoon welcomed the support of the Independent Alliance.
“I am committed to working with the Independent Alliance and other independent representatives to provide effective leadership and strong government.
This morning's talks were open and positive and focused on how we can implement the Programme for Government more effectively,” he said.
The Social Protection Minister committed to a review of legislative priorities.
“There is a renewed enthusiasm across Government for implementing the Programme for Government. Although Ireland faces many challenges, the most significant of these being Brexit, it's great to see such positivity and potential for progress,” Mr Varadkar said.