Coalition or political crisis? Verdict of FF, FG and Green members to be revealed this evening
Leo Varadkar predicts the three parties will vote convincingly for government deal
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met on Thursday to discuss the structure of the proposed new government. Photograph: Caroline Quinn/Damien Eagers/Leon Farrell/PA Wire
The verdict of the members of the Green Party, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on the proposed coalition government will be revealed on Friday evening, either clearing the way for a new government on Friday or precipitating an immediate political crisis and a possible general election.
Senior Green Party figures are cautiously optimistic that the deal will be approved by their members, but admit that there is no certainty of a Yes vote.
Two TDs both said they felt the “late deciders” had broken for the Yes side, but expected a tight result.
But the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was bullish on Thursday night, predicting that the three parties would vote convincingly for the coalition deal.
“My prediction is that the three parties tomorrow will vote to go into coalition with each other, that the Yes vote will be larger than people expect in all three parties and we will have a new government on Saturday,” he said after what is expected to be the final meeting of the outgoing Cabinet.
Mr Varadkar said there was no arrangement or Plan B in place if the vote fails. If the vote did not pass, he said he would “reflect on that” over the weekend and arrange a meeting with the party leaders to “see what is possible”.
While arrangements are still being put in place, the results are expected to be announced in the early evening, probably about 7pm.
In the event of a Yes vote, the Dáil will meet in the National Convention Centre on Friday and the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will be elected taoiseach with the support of the three parties and, it is expected, a number of independent TDs. Mr Martin will then form his cabinet including members from the three parties.
Mr Varadkar, Mr Martin and the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan met on Thursday to discuss the structure of the proposed new government, with changes to the make-up of several departments mooted.
Sources said agreement was outstanding on a number of issues, and the three men would meet again on Friday.
The Green Party is expected to have four TDs at the cabinet table if the party agrees to join the coalition, three full ministers and a “super junior” minister who also sits at cabinet. The party will also get three other junior ministries.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will have six full cabinet ministers each, plus a super junior minister, and eight junior ministers. Speculation is intense in all parties about the recipients of ministerial jobs.