Independent Alliance will support Varadkar for taoiseach

Group’s Ministers set to retain portfolios when ‘energetic’ Fine Gael leader takes charge

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said there was “renewed enthusiasm” across the administration for implementing the Programme for Government. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said there was “renewed enthusiasm” across the administration for implementing the Programme for Government. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

The Independent Alliance has confirmed it will support the nomination of Leo Varadkar as taoiseach on Wednesday following a meeting with the Fine Gael leader on Sunday morning.

The group of Independent TDs met with Mr Varadkar for two hours on Sunday to reach final agreement on a range of issues that had been raised.

Mr Varadkar said that he welcomed the support of the alliance and was committed to working with them.

“This morning’s talks were open and positive and focused on how we can implement the Programme for Government more effectively. This will involve a review of legislation and seeing which issues can be prioritised,” said Mr Varadkar in a statement.

He added there was “renewed enthusiasm” across Government for implementing the programme.

“Although Ireland faces many challenges, the most significant of these being Brexit, it’s great to see such positivity and potential for progress,” he said.

It was the second meeting between the group and Mr Varadkar and was described by the Dublin Bay North TD Finian McGrath as “very energetic, very confident and very workmanlike”.

All of the alliance’s Ministers and Ministers of State will retain their current portfolios after Mr Varadkar refreshes his Cabinet on Wednesday.

Sources in the alliance admitted there was perhaps too much emphasis on local and constituency issues during the first meeting. At Sunday’s meeting, the focus was on the Programme for Government, including Brexit, rural affairs, disability, the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill and two pieces of legislation being sponsored by Minister of State Kevin “Boxer” Moran: the Sexual Offences Bill and a Bill that will help debtors remain in their own homes.