Micheál Martin set to become next Taoiseach as party leaders agree coalition government deal

Micheál Martin set to become next Taoiseach as party leaders agree coalition government deal

MICHEÁL MARTIN is set to become Ireland’s next Taoiseach after a deal to form a coalition government was agreed today between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

That agreement will see the Fianna Fáil leader take up the role of Taoiseach until 2022, at which point it will rotate back to Leo Varadkar as the head of Fine Gael.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan would then be expected to next hold the position, in line with the rotation guidelines drawn up by the parties to allow them to collectively govern the country.

Their agreement was revealed alongside the publication of a draft programme for government, which confirmed their intentions as a coalition government.

“This Government will be a genuine partnership between all involved and the policies outlined reflect a shared desire to work together and a mutual respect for each other’s policies, beliefs and values,” it said.

Regarding the challenges ahead, particularly as Ireland slowly emerges from its coronavirus lockdown, the document adds: “The new Government will make every effort to get people back to work, to reopen businesses, while developing the strategies and the policies to drive this forward.

“We will stimulate the economy through investment in public infrastructure, and critical areas such as housing, healthcare, transport and energy.

“The wellbeing of our nation, however, goes beyond the narrow confines of economic growth.”

“Over the next five years the Government will use wellbeing indicators as well as economic indicators to point out inequalities and help ensure that policies are driven by a desire to do better by people.

“Our economy must recover in a way that is fair and balanced, leaves no one behind, and is future-proofed against shocks.”

The announcement comes four months after Ireland's General Election in February, which saw no party gain overall control and meant Leo Varadkar staying in post as a caretaker Taoiseach until now.

Speaking in Dublin today, Mr Martin confirmed a deal - which is now due to be voted on by each party’s membership - had been agreed between the party leaders.

“The major issues have been resolved and obviously we’ll present the programme for Government to our parliamentary parties, that’s important, and then out to the membership for ballot,” he said.

“But I think the programme as it’s now formulated does represent a significant new departure in terms of public policy, particularly in relation to housing, health, education and climate change itself, because I think it is important."