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Taoiseach rotation: Here's how the day will play out as Varadkar takes over from Martin

Micheál Martin will travel to Áras an Uachtaráin this morning to submit his resignation as Taoiseach

MICHEÁL MARTIN WILL travel to Áras an Uachtaráin this morning to submit his resignation as Taoiseach to President Michael D Higgins.

Later today, Leo Varadkar will take over the role of Taoiseach for the final two years of the coalition Government. 

A rotation of the role of Taoiseach has never happened before in Irish politics, however it was agreed in the programme for Government in 2020 that Martin and Varadkar would switch half way through the term.

Once Martin has paid a visit to President Higgins this morning at around 9.30am, Dáil proceedings are expected to begin at 10.30am when Martin will announce that he has submitted his resignation.

A number of proposals for Taoiseach will be made, including the nomination of Leo Varadkar.

A vote roll call will be held to determine the next Taoiseach before the Dáil is suspended for four hours.

Sinn Féin will not nominate party leader Mary Lou McDonald for Taoiseach during the proceedings, with a spokesperson for the party telling The Journal that ”nothing will change until we have a change of government” and that a general election is needed.

Weekend working 

The Dáil – obviously – does not usually sit on a Saturday, so creche staff for the Oireachtas have been asked to work, with the Dáil bar also set to be open today. 

Once elected by Dáil Eireann, the new Taoiseach will be led out the front door of Leinster House where supporters and the media will be gathered, before being driven to Áras an Uachtaráin.

Such scenes have not been seen for some years, as Martin became Taoiseach in 2020 at the height of the pandemic when restrictions around gatherings and social distancing were in place.

The appointment of Varadkar as Taoiseach will take place at 1.30pm in the State Reception Room at Áras an Uachtaráin where the President will sign the Warrant of Appointment and hand the Seal of the Taoiseach and the Seal of Government to Varadkar.

As in previous years, it’s expected there’ll be much fanfare with as the Taoiseach’s and other politicians’ family members gather in Leinster House to mark the day. 

Later on, Varadkar will call in members of his new Cabinet to tell them what ministerial brief they will be in charge of. The Dáil will sign off on the ministers before proceedings end in Leinster House after 7pm.

The appointment of the new Cabinet will then take place in State Reception Room at Áras an Uachtaráin.

The President will sign the Warrant of Appointment for the Members of the Government and the Warrant of Appointment of the new Attorney General, each of which will be countersigned by the Taoiseach.

The President will then present each minister in turn with their Seal of Office.

Government sources have said all leaders want “a stable transition”, with no hiccups, but one never knows how things will play out when each minister is called in.

Varadkar told Fine Gael politicians this week that he will be seeking commitments from those he appoints as ministers that they will run in the next general election.

He said the decisions he will have to make are very difficult, but he told members that he would endeavour to make sure there is a meaningful role for all.

The speculation is there will be no major shake up around the Cabinet table and that the role of junior ministers is where the biggest changes will be seen.

There had also been talk of additional super-junior ministers, but sources state that the Government would be “roasted” by the public if new roles were to be created. 

Along with Martin and Varadkar switching seats, the roles at the Departments of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will also swap between Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath.

The Green Party have indicated they are happy to keep their current briefs with Green Party ministers Eamon Ryan, Catherine Martin and Roderic O’Gorman all likely to remain in their departments. 

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is one of the few ministers who has been told he will be remaining in position after the reshuffle.

Micheál Martin has been keeping tightlipped on where he might want to move, and talks between the three coalition leaders on the make-up of the reshuffled ministerial lineup were taking place yesterday evening. 

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