Ireland has new government after parties back historic coalition deal

  • london
  • June 26, 2020
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One-hundred and forty days since voters went to the polls, the Republic of Ireland has a new government after Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party ratified a coalition deal.

Green Party members approved the draft programme for government this evening, after it was backed by supporters of the two main parties earlier today.

Following the deal’s approval, Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin is expected to be elected taoiseach around lunchtime on Saturday.

He will then be due to hand the job over to Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, the current caretaker taoiseach who has led the country since 2017, in two-and-a-half years time.

It is the first time Ireland’s two dominant parties, which both have their origins in the Irish civil war, have served in government together.

The coronavirus outbreak had brought a halt to coalition talks following February’s election, where no party received a majority.

A deal was agreed by the three parties earlier this month. After 74 per cent of Fianna Fáil members backed the agreement, party leader Mícheál Martin described it as a “moment of opportunity and hope”.

It was supported by 80 per cent of Fine Gael members, but there had been questions whether the Green Party’s near 2,000 members would agree to the power-sharing deal.

Some 74 per cent of Green members eventually voted to approve the deal, said returning officer Mary Ryder.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, the current caretaker taoiseach, will take over from Mr Martin in 2022 (PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “There’s a sense of responsibility on us now because we do have a job to do.

“We have to go in and help work with our coalition partners in government in actually getting our country out of a really severe economic crisis.

“People at home who are losing their jobs or maybe risk of that, they want a government to get up and stand up for them and get everyone back working.

“We commit to doing that to tell you everything we can, there’s work to be done, and we’re the ones to try and help make it happen.”