Máire Whelan appointment is Taoiseach’s first problem

Leo Varadkar response to controversy over Court of Appeal role will signal political path

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Will he rescind Máire Whelan’s appointment  and reopen the process? Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Will he rescind Máire Whelan’s appointment and reopen the process? Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Enda Kenny paid Leo Varadkar the compliment of nominating him to be his successor as taoiseach on Wednesday, but he has also left him with the first political problem of his administration.

The nomination of the outgoing Attorney General Máire Whelan as a judge of the Court of Appeal was, I am told, the final item on the final agenda of the outgoing cabinet on Tuesday. By Wednesday, it was a political controversy. Micheál Martin raised the circumstances of the nomination in the Dáil during the debate on Varadkar’s nomination, drawing an obvious link with one of the outgoing administration’s other final acts: the reopening of a Garda station in Minister for Transport and Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross’s constituency.

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