Leo Varadkar becomes Taoiseach

Follow the pledges and reshuffles as Leo Varadkar takes the helm

Hugh Linehan, Harry McGee Wed, Jun 14
LIVE: Leo Varadkar becomes Taoiseach

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  • 11:12
    Good morning and welcome to this Irish Times liveblog covering the nomination of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach by Dail Eireann, tl be followed by his formal appointment by the President. I'm Hugh Linehan and I'll be covering today's events with my colleague Harry McGee, who's in Leinster House. You can contact me at hlinehan@irishtimes.com or find me on Twitter at @hlinehan.
  • 11:15

    The Dail resumes today at 12 noon, when the Ceann Comhairle can take nominations for the position of Taoiseach and put them to a vote.

    Fianna Fail has confirmed it will abstain in the vote on Mr Varadkar, scheduled for around 2pm. He is expected to be appointed with support from 58 TDs including Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance, two Independent Ministers and Independent TD Michael Lowry.

    Mr Varadkar will return to the Dail to announce his Cabinet at 6pm, and there will be another vote on the Cabinet.

  • 11:21
    Leo Vardkar will be the 13th taoiseach but the 14th head of government in the history of the State (WT Cosgrave was President of the Executive, which was the offical title up until the passage of the 1937 Constitution).At 38, he will be the youngest ever holder of the office.
  • 11:22

    Here's Harry with some historical context for Oireachtas TV.

  • 11:34
    Harry McGee writes...
    Just half an hour to go and Leinster House is abuzz with excitement. It's a historic event. Leo Varadkar will be the 13th Taoiseach and the 14th head of Government.
    Every single ticket for the gallery has been snapped up with Opposition TDs giving their allocation to Fine Gael colleagues. It's a little bit like the All Ireland, ticket-wide.
    At this stage, the contradictory rumours have reached the level of bewilderment. Is Heather Humphreys going to be the Tánaiste not Frances Fitzgerald? Will Mary Mitchell O'Connor be offered a Super Junior rather than a full Senior?
    Has the accepted wisdom that Leo promised retention to all Ministers who supported him been nothing more than a puff of smoke?
    Later today, we will all be put out of our misery, but it won't stop the spiralling speculation.
  • 11:40

    On days such as this, there's always a tremendous amount of chatter and speculation about who's in, out, up, or down in the new administration.

    Here's a taste of what Pat Leahy, Mary Minihan and Sarah Bardon had to say about it all this morning:

    Mr Varadkar was last night understood to be receiving advice on the legalities of a plan to split the Department of Justice into two. Some sources said the legal and technical difficulties of such a move midway through the Government’s term might prove too much.
    Combined role
    Paschal Donohoe is expected to be made Minister for Finance, in addition to his role as Minister for Public Expenditure, combining the leadership of the two most powerful government departments.
    A new role, combining the job of chief whip with responsibility for management of the Government’s agenda and Fine Gael’s preparation for the next election, is also being considered, with Mr Varadkar’s campaign manager Eoghan Murphy thought likely to fill it.

    Full article here.

  • 11:53

    Hugh Linehan writes:

    Our Political Editor Pat Leahy tells Sean O'Rourke on RTE radio that the key strategic objective for Leo Varadkar today is to demonstrate change, freshness and momentum. If the perception is of minimal change, then that will detract from that.

  • 11:57
    Harry McGee writes:
    So some stats for your delectation:
    Leo Varadkar will be 13th Taoiseach and 14th head of Government.
    It is the 32nd Dáil.
    At 38, he will be the youngest Toaiseach.
    He will also be the sixth Fine Gael Taoiseach (WT Cosgrave was the head of the first Executive).
    The others were John A Costello, Liam Cosgrave, Garrett FitzGerald; John Bruton; and Enda Kenny.
  • 12:03

    Hugh Linehan:

    Our parliamentsry correspondent, Michael o'Regan, tells me he met FG TD tipped for a significant promotion within the past half-hour in the Dail corridor. “That is a nice new suit, ‘’ Michael remarked. “I have a second in my hotel wardrobe, just in case,’’ he replied.  

  • 12:07
    The Ceann Comhairle is leading the prayer and the moment of silent reflection. And we're off.
  • 12:08

    Enda Kenny rises to speak:

    'yesterday I resigned my office as taoiseach. I move that Dail Eireann nominate Leo Varadkar. I am confident he will carry it out with energy, integrity and skill.'

  • 12:09
    Enda Kenny says he's had the privilege of appointing Leo Varadkar to three cabinet positions. Cites his work with the tourism industry, the health service and social protection as evidence of his abilities.
  • 12:11
    Kenny: Leo Varadkar will meeet challenges head-on, including Brexit. He represents a modest, diverse and inclusive Ireland and speaks for them like no other. He will see the country is managed carefully in the people's interest. therefore he commends the nomination to the house.
  • 12:13
    Josepha Madigan seconds the nomination, says Leo Varadkar is decent, moderate and compassionate, but most of all courageous. "You will need every ounce of that courage to meet the challenges ahead. I believe under your leadership you can take this country forward."
  • 12:14
    Josepha Madigan: "For this beloved country of ours, you are the right person at the right time."
  • 12:16
    Micheal Martin speaking now. Criticises a Sinn Fein TD for attacking him on Twitter for within the chamber for his positive words yesterday about Leo Varadkar. Says no major change in policy has been proposed that would necessitate a general election.
  • 12:18
    First joke of the day. Michael Martin's jibe at Noel Rock, who nominated Taoiseach Enda Kenny four times last year and then was one of the first out on the plinth to call for him to go.
  • 12:19
    Martin: We hope it will be successful in changing the Government's approach. "He has started well by not having Deputy Noel Rock nominate him".
  • 12:20
    Martin queries what Varadkar's policies and beliefs on issues such as Northern Ireland, the EU, industrial pilicy, etc. Suggests his beliefs seem to be more right-wing than those of his colleagues. "This morning's headlines suggest he is going to temper his ideology."
  • 12:22
    Harry McGee writes...
    Okay, we are going to be here for a while. Each of the groups will make their speeches and have their Edmund Burke moment.
    Martin is going in a little harder than we though, slagging off Varadkar for distancing himself from controversy and being involved in spin, and announcing every minor change as a step-change.
    He's more or less telling him that being Taoiseach is different.
    It's reminiscent of the famous comment Seamus Brennan made to the Greens a decade ago when they were entering government: "Ye are playing senior hurling now."
  • 12:24
    Martin: His skill at avoiding hard news and distancing himself from Government difficulties has been remarkable. Draws attention to Varadkar's lower support among rank and file party members. He says it is rumoured announcement of some new policies has been delayed for PR purposes. Takes issue with Varadkar's statement during FG election that "if you try to represent everybody, you represent nobody".
  • 12:26
    Martin criticises "ongoing drift" of the last year, says the excuse of doubts over Enda Kenny's furure is now gone. "Today the excuses end".
  • 12:28
    Martin says he has been assured by Varadkar that the agreement between FF and FG will be fully implemented. Criticises the appointment of AG Maire Whelan to the Court of Appeal.
  • 12:32
    Harry McGee
    The sotto voce stuff from yesterday has been abandoned. Martin finished his speech with an overt attack on the new regime, particularly the seeming pork barrel stuff we have seen in the past few days.
    For a person promising a new start, some of the announcements over the past 24 hours have not been great.
    The manner in which Maire Whelan was appointed to be a judge of the Appeal Court suggested naked political patronage.
    And then the announcement about Stepaside Garda Station (accompanied by billboard size posters erected by Shane Ross) made a mockery of the Independent Alliance promise they were going to take political influence out of the judiciary and out of the justice system.
    That kine of thing would have even made Fianna Fail - in its heydey - blush...

  • 12:32
    Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams welcomes Leo Varadkar's family. Says not all young people are radical or progressive, and that he fears the new taoiseach will drag the Government to the right.
  • 12:33
    By the way, you can also follow these proceedings in fabulous sound and vision via our Facebook Live feed here.
  • 12:35
    Adams says Varadkar needs to turn away from "the easy rhetoric of a republic of opportunity" to a rights-based approach to inequality.
  • 12:36
    My colleague Fiach Kelly has been reporting that Seamus Woulfe will be the new Attorney General. He is a senior counsel and represented the party when it defended the action taken by former TD John Perry against it. Perry failed to win a nomination for the party in Sligo-Leitrim for the general election last year and issued proceedings claiming the system used was unfair. He was later added to the ticket.
  • 12:37
    Adams calls on Varadkar to get behind a camoaign to repeal the 8th amendment, tackling the housing crisis and extortionate rents.
  • 12:43
    Louise O'Reilly of Sinn Fein not bothering with the words of welcome at the start. Lays into the taoiseach-to-be's record and policies.
  • 12:43
    Harry McGee
    Choice of speaker is always a strong indication of who's really in favour within Sinn Fein. Louise O'Reilly is undoubtedly a rising star. She's a new TD but there is no impediment to her having a right old go at the new Taoiseach.
    She brings up the subject of abortion at the end of her speech. This will be a dominant theme of the Varadkar leadership.
  • 12:47
    Labour leader Brendan Howlin wishes Leo Varadkar well on a personal level, but says his party cannot support him on the basis of the Programme for Government. Says that for a gay son of an immigrant to be elected to the office speaks well of this Republic, but that the Programme for Government has too much emphasis on tax cuts and is deficient in many other areas, from capital investment to the eighth amendment.
  • 12:49

  • 12:50

  • 12:51

  • 12:52

  • 12:54
    Brendan Howlin recalls tortuous negotiations between Labour and Fine Gael in government over legislating for the X case, wonders whether Varadkar realises that he cannot continue to be a commentator and will have to lead from the front.
  • 12:55

  • 12:58
    Joan Burtn of Labour talks about Dublin West, the constituency she shares with the new taoiseach, and how it epitomises the challenges facing the country. Says he must decide a target date of next April or May for a referendum on the eighth amendment and end the scandal of companies paying little or no corporation tax.
  • 13:00
    The theme of physical exercise continues. Gerry Adams shared a pilates class with Varadkar, and Joan Burton saw him out jogging.
  • 13:02
    People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett mentions the huge fire this morning in London and asks whether fire safety regulations are properly applied here.
  • 13:08

  • 13:10
    The House is not surprised to hear that Ruth Coppinger of Solidarity will not be supporting Leo Varadkar's nomination as taoiseach.  
  • 13:11

  • 13:13

  • 13:19
    Joan Collins of Independents 4 Change says she has no expectation of change from the new taoiseach. Criticises the reliance on private sector to solve housing crisis.
  • 13:21

  • 13:24

  • 13:28

  • 13:30
    Mick Wallace asks the new taoiseach to suspend the operations of Nama. Says the Project Eagle controversy is only the tip of the iceberg. "Time will show the workings of Nama to be the biggest scandal in the history of the State." Also calls for removal of the Garda Commissioner.
  • 13:32
    Harry McGee
    I was down in West Waterford on Monday and kept on being reminded by people that Leo's mother, Miriam, is from there. Naturally, there's a lot of emphasis on his Indian heritage but they don't want his Irish rural roots forgotten either.
    By the way, many down there were also wondering would John Deasy get the nod and be appointed as a junior minister.
  • 13:34

  • 13:36
    Harry McGee writes
    It's getting interesting now. The Independents will begin to declare if they will support him or abstain. Michael Harty from Clare, who supported him the last time, is abstaining. Mattie McGrath is on his fet at the moment. I would be very surprised if he supported the nomination. At the moment he has 57 for certain. That includes Michael Lowry. A few abstentions will ensure it will be enough when Fianna Fáíl abstains.
  • 13:37

    Mattie McGrath asks whether the new taoiseach has ever heard the song Won't Get Fooled Again, which according to Mattie is by a band called Who. No definite articles for Mattie. Here it is, by the way.

  • 13:38
    Harry McGee
    I very much doubt that Leo Varadkar or new Minister for Justice will accede to Mick Wallace's request on Garda Commissioner.
  • 13:40
    Michael Lowry says he was reliable in his support for the government, and he will be continuing his support by voting for Leo Varadkar.
  • 13:41
    Harry McGee
    There is no deal with Michael Lowry Fine Gael insists but he will still vote for Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach.
    Lowry is praising Varadkar now, very fully indeed.
    Not something the new Taoiseach will be putting on the dustcover of his memoirs when he eventually writes them at an advanced age...ie when he is 45.
  • 13:43
    Lowry confirms he'll vote for Leo. "My advice to you is to be yourself. If you be yourself you will be an excellent Taoiseach." Also describes Brendan Howlin's comments about him as an attack on the people in Tipperary who elected him (Lowry, that is).
  • 13:53
    Harry McGee writes
    This is an interview I did with Leo Varadkar six years ago, not too long after he chose the wrong side in the internal Fine Gael leadership rift.
  • 13:53
    Roisin Shortall of the Social Democrats adds her voice to the criticism of yesterday's Whelan appointment as "the height of hypocrisy".  
  • 13:57
    Eamon Ryan of the Greens says not one of the speakers over two hours of debate has mentioned the environment and climate change. Says to Varadkar: "There's not a scintilla of Green with you." Gets a laugh from Ashok Varadkar in the gallery when Ryan says he understands Ashok votes left.
  • 14:00
    Harry McGee
    I came across another article about Varadkar's early period in the Dáil, when Conor Lenihan called him a 'fascist' because of his views (which were hardline enough at the time) on immigration.
    Here is my report on the drama: http://www.irishtimes.com/n...
  • 14:01

  • 14:04

  • 14:04
    Voting on the nomination of Leo Varadkar as taoiseach is now underway.
  • 14:06
    Harry McGee
    The critical moment has arrived. The vote for Leo Varadkar's nomination of Taoiseach will be a walk-through vote.
    That means that tellers from the Government and Opposition sides will position themselves at the top of the stairs and the TDs who vote will each climb the stairs and then go to the left or right, depending on how they intend to vote.
    Nowadays, most votes are taken electronically with the exception of the Budget, the nomination of Taoiseach and confidence votes. Walk-through votes can also be requested.
  • 14:22

    And we're back. On the nomination of Leo Varadkar as taoiseach.

    In favour: 57 Against: 50 Abstained: 47

  • 14:22
    Harry McGee
    Less than five minutes now.
    Leo Varadkar is Taosieach.
    Won by seven votes in the end.
    The extra abstention was Micahel Hary.

    He is now Taoisach Elect.
    Taoiseach Tofa.

    That was highly symbolic moment, Enda Kenny swapping place wiht him.
  • 14:23
    Harry McGee
    Tá Leo Varadkar ag caint Gaeilge ag an tus mar is gnáth dó.
    Ag rá go bhfuil dúshlán mór i ndán dó.

  • 14:24

    Leo Varadkar addresses the Dail having been elected Taoiseach.

    Pays tribute to Enda Kenny, and says he would not be standing there if it were not for him. he took his seat for the first time in the Dail 10 years ago exactly.

  • 14:26
    Says he will be talking lather to Theresa May, and will be passing on his sympathy on this morning's tragedy.
  • 14:27
    He thanks Gerry Adams for revealing "their little secret" about the pilates class. Says Adams was better. "Perhaps he has more experience of being in a tight squeeze". Says he hopes they can work together particularly on issues relating to North.
  • 14:28
    Harry McGee
    Genuine humour shocker in Dáíl today. Gerry Adams reveals Leo Varadkar was in the same pilates class.
    Varadkar's retort was good saying Adam was probably better as he had more experience of being in a "tight squeeze".
  • 14:28
    Makes a point about disproportion between number of Government and Fianna Fail speakers who were enabled to speak vis a vis the opposition speakers. Calls for greater proportionality.
  • 14:31
    Harry McGee writes
    We know that the Fine Gael team behind Leo Varadkar have spent a lot of time working on the script he is delivering now.
    So far it seems to be generous in spirit, and paying a tribute to all politicians.
    Surprising when he refers to Taoisigh being elected mid-term that he first of all refers to Sean Lemass before going on to John Bruton.
    It's been carefully crafted, that's for sure, and even includes the mandatory Seamus Heaney quote.
  • 14:31
    Varadkar says there will be attention on this special day to democracy in action. Thanks the entire chamber and says it is full of people on all sides who care passionately based on principles. Says there have been a number of mid-term changes of taoiseach: Lemass, Bruton and most recently Cowen. Recalled in Cowen's case that he demanded certain principles, and says he'll be held to those principles too.
  • 14:32
    Quotes Seamus Heaney's From The Republic of Conscience, says he approaches the job with "profound humility and respect for what has gone before".
  • 14:32
    Harry McGee
    Ag labhairt Gaeilge arís agus ag raibh go bhfuil an-iarracht déanta aige chun feabhas a chur a chuid Gaeilge.
    He hopes to inspire more people to speak Irish through his efforts.
  • 14:35
    Varadkar says the government he leads will not be of left or right. It will be of the European centre seeking to build a republic of opportunity. He will now go to the President to seek the seal of office and therefore proposes the House be suspended. A standing ovation ensues and the Dail is suspended.
  • 14:37

  • 14:39

  • 14:41

  • 14:44

  • 14:45

  • 14:48

  • 16:48

    A message from Europe.

  • 16:50

  • 16:51

    And so it begins.

  • 16:53

  • 17:03

    A good question from our Saturday columnist and film critic.

  • 17:07
    Our experts say the new Attorney General, Seamus Woulfe, is close to minister Richard Bruton and also acted for Fine Gael in the John Perry case last year.
  • 17:07

  • 17:08

  • 17:18

  • 17:20

  • 17:24
    Sarah Bardon - who is clearly hiding under Leo's desk - informs us that Michael Creed will remain Minister for Agriculture.
  • 17:27

  • 17:29
    Simon Harris is with the Taoiseach now.
  • 17:37
    So just to summarise: the new Taoiseach has received his seal of office from President Higgins and is now in his office meeting with those he will be appointing to his Cabinet. For the moment, all that's confirmed is that Michael Creed is remaining at Agriculture and Seamus Woulfe is the new Attorney General, although it also looks as if Mary Mitchell O'Connor will also remain a minister.
  • 17:53
    It's been a long road...

  • 18:01
    We are told now that the Dail will not reconvene until 7.30pm. One of the things we were all hoping for was that the new Taoiseach would be more punctual than the old one. Dreams die quickly in politics.
  • 18:06

  • 18:19
    Sarah Bardon tells us Charlie Flanagan is the new Minister for Justice.
  • 18:20
    Michael Ring is Minister for Rural Affairs.
  • 18:28
    Fiach Kelly says the fact Simon Coveney was granted his wish to become Minister for Foreign Affairs has had a knock-on effect down the line.
  • 18:39

  • 18:41
    Harry McGee writes
    Heather Humphreys is said to be staying in the Department of Arts and Heritage with the Rural Affairs component being hived off to Michael Ring. Will he also get Defence as part of his portfolio?
    If Charlie Flanagan is appointed Minister for Justice, he will have to deal with the continuing crises affecting the Garda Síochána.
    The word of the moment 'omnishambles' is appropriate.
    The Public Accounts Committee has been sitting all day listening to more evidence about Templemore Training College, and the shambolic manner in which was run.
    Again, there seems to be inconsistencies between evidence given today at the hearing and earlier evidence given by Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan.
    This is going to provide a big headache for Flanagan if he is the Minister.

  • 18:42

  • 18:51
    Harry McGee writes
    In some ways this has not been a great start for Leo Varadkar, and does not exaclty suggest a new broom.
    For one, he seems to be retaining the buik of Enda Kenny's Cabinet which suggests a slightly Trumpean predilection towards 'loyalty' over ability.
    There's been a lot of talk today about geographical spreads. Sure, you can't have a Cabinet composed entirely of Dubliners but I think too much is sometimes made of spreading your Ministers arbitrarily across a map.
    What's most surprising is that all of the outgoing Cabinet who did not retire have been retained. I'm not suggesting Varadkar should have done an Albert Reynolds on it. But at the same time, the changes are minimalist.
    His backbenchers are saying most of the changes will take place at the junior ranks but that's not going to have any impact with the wider public, who struggle to identify even the senior Ministers.
    The second is the flagrant decision to give Shane Ross Stepaside Garda Station on the eve of Varadkar's appointment. Because it was done just before his elevation, he can say 'nothing to do with me mate'. But it's pork barrel stuff.
    As is the elevation of Maire Whelan. Whatever her merits as a legal mind, the Government completely ignored its own appointment process and just foisted her into the job.
    And where was the fearless defender of judicial independence Shane Ross. He was too busy playing with his new toys - billboard style posters for Stepaside Garda Station - to bother raising anything more than a whimper over it.
  • 18:59
    Eoghan Murphy has been appointed Minister for Housing.
  • 19:06
    Harry McGee writes
    I understand Regina Doherty has been appointed Minister for Social Protection and Labour.
  • 19:14
    Fiach Kelly confirms Paschal Donohoe will run both the Department of Finance and the department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
  • 19:16
    Fiach also says Frances Fitzgerald is Minister for Jobs and retains the title of Tanaiste.
  • 19:17
    Minister for Jobs (i.e. Enterprise) going to Fitzgerald is a big win for her but does raise the question of what's left for Mary Mitchell O'Connor....
  • 19:19


  • 19:29

  • 19:31
    Sarah Bardon confirms it's a blow for John Paul Phelan as Joe McHugh becomes Chief Whip (with added responsibilities, says Fiach).
  • 19:32
    Harry McGee writes
    This is really interesting.
    As of now, it seems there are three new Ministers - Eoghan Murphy; Michael Ring and Regina Doherty.
    The only person we have not heard of so far is Mary Mitchell O'Connor,
    She said early on that she had retained her position but, if our intel is not wrong, it might be a super junior role, perhaps the new Brexit role.
    As we look, the Dáíl is beginning to fill up and the Opposition benches are well upholstered at this stage. In the Government benches we can see the ranks of the Ministers or State.

  • 19:34

  • 19:36
    House is suspended for 15 minutes
  • 19:36
    Harry McGee
    I have heard Mary Mitchell O'Connor has been meeting the new Taoiseach and this might have been the cause of the delay.
    Is it a reprise of 2011 and Ruairi Quinn?
  • 19:42

    So this looks like the line-up:

    Leo Varadkar Taoiseach

    Frances Fitzgerald Enterprise (and Tanaiste)

    Paschal Donohoe (Finance and DEPR)

    Simon Coveney Foreign Affairs

    Richard Bruton Education

    Simon Harris Health

    Charlie Flanagan Justice

    Michael Creed Agriculture

    Heather Humphreys Arts, Cultures

    Michael   Ring Regional development

    Regina Doherty Social protection

    Eoghan Murphy Housing Environment

    Denis Naughten Communications

    Shane Ross Transport

    Katherine Zappone Children

  • 19:45

  • 19:46
    With Mary Mitchell O'Connor as super junior with responsibility for equality and justice
  • 19:50

  • 19:54
    Harry McGee writes...
    Another hold up obviously. The Dáíl was supposed to reconvene several minutes ago. Now the bells are ringing suggesting it will resume just after 8pm.
  • 20:01

    And we're back! Applause rings around the chamber for the new Cabinet.

  • 20:03
    The new Government Chief Whip, Joe Mchugh, proposes the order of business for the evening. Proceedings should not take more than two and a half hours (!). Here's the Taoiseach.
  • 20:06
    Harry McGee writes
    So Mary Mitchell O'Connor will have delegated powers for higher education. It's a demotion? Not a great day for Richard Bruton either. He will have some of his responsibilities taken away and his desire to move to an economic ministry has been rebuffed.
  • 20:08
    Varadkar says Ireland will strengthen bonds with UK and US, and is committed to multilateralism. The Government will work to protect its citizens, seek to strengthen links with the diaspora.
  • 20:09
    Simon Coveney given both overarching role for Brexit as well as traditional role in NI political process.
  • 20:11
    The Taoiseach says amalgamation of Finance and DEPR makes sense at this stage. Also, there will be an enhanced role for Tanaiste  Fitzgerald.
  • 20:12
    Social Protection department remit extended to include labour-related issues.
  • 20:13

  • 20:15
    Joe McHugh is given responsibility for Irish language and the islands along with his Chief Whip duties.
  • 20:16
    Harry McGee writes
    I'm not sure about this. It looks like Joe McHugh has been reassigned to Irish language responsibilities again - as Chief Whip and Minister for Gaeilge rather than the Gaeltacht. His Irish has improved and he has made a huge effort but he's still not as adept as Sean Kyne was. It means Kyne will be reassigned on Tuesday.
  • 20:19
    The Taoiseach commends the Government to the House. Micheal Martin rises to respond. Says the use of the super junior role is "an avenue of convenience" which is being abused. Criticises some of the appointments and the emphasis on party reorganisation.
  • 20:21
    Micheal Martin says key elements of the Good Friday Agreement are under threat. Says Charlie Flanagan's removal undermines the claim that these appointments are defined by ability.
  • 20:24
    Martin congratulates his constituency coleague Simon Coveney on his new appointment, but says none of his housing agenda has been implemented. He says the separation of Finance and DEPR was driven by Labour's demands in 2011 and that putting them back together makes some sense. Points out that Paschal Donohoe will now be legally required to consult with himself before making a decision.
  • 20:24

  • 20:27
    Martin says the manner of appointment of Maire Whelan to the Court of Criminal Appeal "stinks".
  • 20:27
    Harry McGee writes
    Micheal Martin now turns to what is going to be a bit of a ticking bomb for the new Varadkar administration. He says it stinks and accuses the Government of doing a dirty deal, giving Shane Ross Stepaside Garda Station in return for his silence on the appointment of Maire Whelan.

    "A squalid piece of low horse-trading", is his description.
  • 20:29
    Martin: "there will be no honeymoon and there will be no more excuses".
  • 20:36
    Mary Lou McDonald tells the Dail she'll be part of a delegation meeting Theresa May in London tomorrow and she'll be meeting the Taoiseach on Friday. She says Sinn Fein is not a threat to democracy but a threat to the status quo. Says the position of the Garda Commissioner is untenable.
  • 20:38
    Gaeilge álainn ag Pearse Doherty. Ag clamhsán anois ach fós tá fuaim dheas ag teacht uaidh.
  • 20:41
    Harry McGee writes
    First ageist slur! Pearse Doherty tell the Cabinet "Ye look very old".
    There are howls of protest.
    It's the second time he has sailed close to the wind on the question of age.
    During a Primetime TV debate with Michael Noonan he made the mistake of telling him he was too old and past it.
  • 20:44
    Harry McGee
    Pearse Doherty speech is really strong..
    Very strong on Irish language and very effective singling out of Minister.
  • 21:12

  • 21:13
  • 21:14