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Taoiseach expected to announce new Tánaiste tomorrow - as he says Fitzgerald will play a senior role in the party

Who will it be?

Heather Humphreys may be getting a call from Leo Varadkar tomorrow.
Heather Humphreys may be getting a call from Leo Varadkar tomorrow.

THE TAOISEACH WILL name a new Tánaiste tomorrow – along with a new cabinet minister.

Leo Varadkar will choose someone to replace Frances Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald stepped down yesterday over her handling of the Maurice McCabe affair. However, he told the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting tonight that he was backing Fitzgerald to play a senior role in the party in the future.

Varadkar told TDs and senators that the issue was about “getting the truth and showing loyalty to a party colleague”.

Her departure follows days of controversy around the legal strategy used against Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe during the O’Higgins Commission.

A number of names have been floated, with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney the bookies’ favourite. The Cork TD was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit on 15 June 2017. He is also the Deputy Leader of Fine Gael. He previously served as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government as well as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

However, while Arts Minister Heather Humphreys is second favourite with the bookies, she has been heavily tipped.

Education Minister Richard Bruton and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are also in the running.

Varadkar will also appoint someone to Fitzgerald’s ministry at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

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Names linked to that vacancy include junior ministers John Paul Phelan and Patrick O’Donovan.

It is understood the announcements of the new appointees will be made in the Dáil tomorrow before being presented to the President to receive their seals of office.

Read: ‘I want to stay at the highest level of political life and vindicate my good name’ – Fitzgerald comes out swinging

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