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Saturday 25 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Niall Carson/PA Images
# It's Official
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has been elected Taoiseach
Martin will serve as Taoiseach until December 2022 when the role will rotate back to Leo Varadkar.

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has been elected Taoiseach. 

Martin, who has lead the party since 2011, was elected by the Dáil today after Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party members voted in favour of the Programme for Government yesterday. 

The programme was negotiated between the three parties for several months following February’s General Election. Members of all three parties approved the programme in a ballot yesterday.

Martin (59) has been a TD for Cork South-Central since 1989.

A total 93 TDs voted in favour of Martin for the role of Taoiseach. Some 63 voted against him, while three others abstained. 

In his inaugural speech as Taoiseach from the Dublin Convention Centre today, Martin said “there is no question what our most urgent work is. We’re meeting away from our permanent chamber because of an extraordinary pandemic that has struck Ireland and the rest of the world.

“Starting today this will be at the very centre of everything this Government will do. At the same time we know there are other great challenges,” he said. 

Martin went on to thank the members of his party, and other TDs who supported him in today’s vote, before then thanking his constituents in Cork, and later commending outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and outgoing Health Minister Simon Harris for their work during the pandemic. 

“Most of all I want to thank my family and my community,” he said. “Without them I could have achieved nothing. My wife Mary has been a pillar of support and a partner for me since our days in college. My children have tolerated my many absences over the years as they have grown, studied, and experienced the world.”

He then left the auditorium at the Convention Centre and will now travel to Áras an Uachtarán in the Phoenix Park where President Michael D Higgins is set to sign off on Martin as Ireland’s new Taoiseach. 

Martin first served at Cabinet as Minister for Education and Science under then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern before becoming Minister for Health in 2000. 

He went on to serve as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment between 2004 and 2008 and Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2008 to 2011. Following the resignation of Taoiseach Brian Cowen in January 2011, Martin became Fianna Fáil leader. 

During his time as leader, Martin has been credited with rebuilding Fianna Fáil after its disastrous result in 2011′s General Election where the party saw its number of TDs shrink from 71 to 20. 

Martin has been engaged in negotiating a Programme for Government with Fine Gael and the Green Party following February’s election. No party won enough seats to form a Government outright.  

The election saw a historic surge in support for Sinn Féin with the party increasing its number of seats in the Dáil from 23 to 37. 

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both lost seats in February but had ruled out going into Government with Sinn Féin prior to the General Election. Fine Gael dropped from 47 seats to 35 while Fianna Fáil went from 45 seats down to 38. 

The Green Party, meanwhile, increased its number of TDs from three to 12. 

For months, the three parties hammered out their demands around the table, announcing on 15 June that a draft Programme for Government had been agreed. 

Under the deal, Martin will serve as Taoiseach until December 2022 when the role will rotate back to Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar.  

Follow all of the proceedings on this historic day in Ireland’s political history in our liveblog here

With reporting from Conor McCrave

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