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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 17 April 2021


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IT HAS BEEN ten weeks to the day since the country went to the polls.

Today, we may finally have a Taoiseach and a government, after Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and a group independent TDs agreed a deal.

Now, a fourth vote for Taoiseach will take place in the Dáil.

We’ll be covering the vote live here as Enda Kenny looks set for another term as Taoiseach.

So, that’s it from me. I’m going to do something else. Anything else, really.

The Dáil resumes at 5.30pm to announce a cabinet, then the lads and lasses take a minibus to the Phoenix Park to get their seals of office.

Decent start to the weekend for them.

It’s been a pleasure guys.


So, here’s who voted for Enda Kenny outside of Fine Gael:

  • Katherine Zappone
  • John Halligan
  • Shane Ross
  • Kevin Boxer Moran
  • Finian McGrath
  • Sean Canney
  • Denis Naughten
  • Michael Harty
  • Michael Lowry

Noel Grealish, Michael Fitzmaurice, Michael Healy-Rae and Maureen O’Sullivan abstained.

Enda Kenny invokes the 1916 leaders and says that the Dáil will rise for three hours and resume to nominate the members of cabinet.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

Kenny says that the Taoiseach and government are “responsible to Dáil Eireann” and reforms will mean that is true more than ever.

Enda Kenny has been elected Taoiseach.

It looks like Kenny will have 58 votes and will become Taoiseach for a second term.

With the Rural Alliance TDs, the five Independent Alliance TDs, Michael Lowry and Katherine Zappone, Kenny will reach 60 votes.

In a few minutes, TDs will filter through doors marked Tá or Níl and Enda Kenny will likely be elected Taoiseach.

*Adopts Bruce Buffer voice*

We have no more speakers! It’s voting time!

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane uses the word “farce” and the country nods sagely in agreement.

Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly has a serious pop off the government, saying they will “talk the talk” but ultimately let people down.

Social Democrats co-leader Stephen Donnelly weighs in, saying that the government has had a “failure of ideology”.

Now it seems that the Independent Alliance will vote for Kenny, but Michael Fitzmaurice will abstain.

Kevin Boxer Moran is in the Dáil as Ministers Coveney and Noonan.

Developments afoot…

When they came for Telly Bingo, I did not speak out because I did not play Telly Bingo.

But now they have come for Eastenders and I must fight.

Brendan Howlin is talking about the last government’s place in history. Which feels like something we could have spoken about around, I don’t know, ten weeks ago?

Six TDs have asked to make statements, which seems to serve the purpose of both allowing them to have a go at various political enemies and buying Fine Gael time to negotiate.

Some of you have asked for the maths of the vote.

Here goes:

  • Fianna Fáil’s 44 TDs are abstaining, leaving 114 deputies
  • Kenny has his own 50 TDs plus Michael Lowry and Katherine Zappone
  • That leaves him six shy of the 58 needed
  • Six is the same number in the Independent Alliance
  • However, if the Green Party abstain rather than vote against, the maths could change, leaving Kenny needing 57 votes

Seamus Healy takes the floor as independents get speaking time. The ones which will be the kingmakers, the Independent Alliance, are nowhere to be seen.

Eamon Ryan is speaking now and says the Greens won’t support the government.

After him, there’s time for the independents. But many of them aren’t in the chamber.

Brinksmanship? Genuine disagreement?  A Taoiseach? A new government?

Right now: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Roisín Shortall of the Social Democrats says that new government must have policies at its heart that are equality and poverty-proofed.

Speeches are still ongoing, but the holdout independents are still across the courtyard in Government Buildings.

At a certain point you’re forced to ask, why did Fine Gael call this vote before they had the numbers to win?


He doesn’t look like a man who’s about to be handed control of the country, does he?

Daly finishes with imagery of French revolutionary Robespierre, saying that Kenny may end up on the guillotine as well.


Daly tells the story of a woman known to her whose sister took her own life.

She says that the high rate of suicide means the inquest will take 18 months.

“That’s the Ireland you’ve overseen.”

Boyd Barrett is laying into the government for their “failure” on water charges.

He’s followed by Clare Daly, who says she hopes the Independent Alliance don’t show up and “end this farce”.

She says that the “new outfits and new haircuts” are a million miles from the lives of the Irish people.

Richard Boyd Barrett is giving his speech.

He is not wanting for passion, anyway.

The indications are that a row over turf cutting is what’s holding up a deal with the Independent Alliance.

You could say…it’s a…

Turf war.


Ruth Coppinger of the AAA-PBP is on her feet. And she says that she has “never seen an incoming Taoiseach looking so unhappy”. 

To be fair, she’s not wrong.

She says that the Fine Gael Fianna Fáil deal is the “first cousin of a grand coalition”.

This is a tough time for all of us.

Burton says the issue is not personal and that Labour will support the government when it feels they are right.

But, she says, the new coalition threatens to “fritter away” the progress of the last five years.

Burton notes that universal free GP care has disappeared from the government formation document. She says that the free GP care for children must now be questioned.

She adds that the Eighth Amendment issue has now been “kicked to touch”.

Enda Kenny is a simple name. How do people get it wrong so often?


Burton says that Fianna Fáil will “pick their time as always” and can “keep their foot on the throat of the Taoiseach”.

Labour leader Joan Burton is on her feet, she says that the deal is a “coalition of convenience” and just because it took a long time, doesn’t make it a good deal.

As my colleague Willie Penrose says, a long churning doesn’t make good butter.

Word from Christina Finn who’s in Leinster House:

The Independent Alliance are still over in Government Buildings with Michael Noonan and Simon Coveney.

“It’s not looking good – but nobody knows what is going to happen.”

However, the vote could come after 1pm, so there’s still time.

Adams congratulates Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on their “great job of work” in forming an agreement.

I think it’s sarcasm, but I can’t be sure…


Here comes Gerry Adams, he is offered extra time by the Ceann Comhairle, but says he “won’t be as long-winded”.

Still no sign of the Independent Alliance…


Michéal Martin has a swipe at Sinn Féin, as the speeches become a little bit Father Ted getting the Golden Cleric.

The camera just flashed to Enda Kenny and Richard Bruton. They did not look like men who were sure they were about how things were going.

Martin says the “confidence and supply” approach means the majority of the Dáil will be responsible for passing legislation.

Martin gets some digs in as he says those who “lecture Fianna Fáil about supporting a Fine Gael minority government” voted against “the only way to stop this”.


Michéal Martin is on his feet and notes the absence of the Independent Alliance. He says that today marks a major shift in Irish politics.

“We accept that this is a diverse Dáil and we respect the mandate of others.”

Simon Harris is talking about climate change and long-term planning for pension funds and all of the things this government “will” do.

But Simon Coveney and Michael Noonan aren’t in the chamber as talks with the Independent Alliance are ongoing.

This is quite odd. Fine Gael can’t hold a vote because they’re not sure they’ll win, so they’re basically stalling until the Independent Alliance decides how to vote.

Harris says the government will look to “make things a little easier” for citizens.

A bit of confusion here as Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaille asks Enda Kenny to speak, prematurely as it turns out.

Simon Harris gets to his feet to say he hopes to see a “partnership government”.


Deputy Catherine Byrne is again seconding the nomination of Enda Kenny. She says that Kenny has listened to the people.

She says he will “leave the country on the right track”.

Rock invokes Michael Collins who said in 1922 that Ireland was like a “ship without a captain”.

He calls Enda Kenny a Taoiseach who will “always put the country first”.

He says TDs should reject the “policy of anger and seek the politics of answers”.


The Dáil is now taking nominations for the office of Taoiseach.

Noel Rock is on his feet to nominate Enda Kenny for the fourth time. He begins by saying “fourth time’s the charm”.

Rock pays tribute to the Fianna Fáil and independent TDs who have “worked for a compromise” adding that it’s “not about having power, it’s about using it well”.

Here comes the Ceann Comhairle.

He calls the Dáil to attention and reads the prayer. Enda Kenny and the Fine Gael front bench are here.

Paul Kehoe is reading out the agenda for the day.


The scene from the Dáil right now. Enda Kenny and the Fine Gael front bench are notable by their absence.


Mattie McGrath says he and Paschal Donohoe had a “stand-up row” yesterday.

Yesterday the problem arose where we were looking for the draft document, we were to have it at 10, we didn’t get it till half two and we were told we’d to have it done by half four, I was incensed by that, and I didn’t cooperate and keep the timeline.

“It would be unfair of us to assess and read through 159 pages in an hour and a half.”

He says the mood was “very cross”

I had a stand-up row with Pascal Donohoe in the Government Buildings. The others, I know the Independent Alliance had to. It’s just total disdain. They’re just back to their same antics that people rejected them for. If they are going to carry on that way, it would get people thinking thoughts about being in any cabinet with them… because if that’s the attitude.

Reports from Leinster House are mixed. Some people say that the Independent Alliance and Enda Kenny are at odds, but others say that they’re voting as a unit and have ironed out all five issues.

Uh oh.

This isn’t good. And the Angelus is ringing. Time up for Enda?

4/2/2016 General Election Campaigns Starts Source: RollingNews.ie

Remember these? Seems so long ago now.

Will they be on our streets this summer? We’ll know in about an hour.

So, how are we all feeling? Ten weeks of talk about government formation and it’s coming down to this.

Otherwise, get ready for another election…

File Photo The Last Time Enda Kenny was Voted Taoiseach. Source: RollingNews.ie

Remember the last time Enda was voted Taoiseach, back in 2011?

We hadn’t even discovered Snapchat or quinoa as a nation. So young, so young.

Simon Harris told reporters at Leinster House that the programme for government is “exciting”.

We’ve put together what I think is a really exciting programme for government that will do everything it can to tackle the challenge the that is facing the Irish people.

It is still our expectation that the vote for Taoiseach will take place today, that a government will be formed today, and that we can bring this very long process to an end.

People want us to get on with the job of governing.

After the vote for Taoiseach, assuming it’s successful, attention turns to the shape of the cabinet.

Sources tell us that this could be part of it:

  • Denis Naughten – Minister for Rural Affairs
  • Frances Fitzgerald – Tánaiste and Minister for Justice
  • Leo Varadkar – Minister for Health
  • Regina Doherty – Minister for Education
  • Simon Harris – Minister for Social Protection
  • Finian McGrath and Katherine Zappone – Super Junior Ministers

Simon Coveney tells Sean O’Rourke that he believes Enda Kenny can be elected after 12, but he “won’t speak for independents”.

And if Enda Kenny can’t secure the six independents necessary to get to 58 votes today?

Fine Gael’s Sean Kyne, a chief negotiator with the independents, reckons Enda will “be going to the Park“, meaning another election.

Mattie McGrath is out, however. He and Cork independent TD Michael Collins will be staying in opposition.

What of the Healy-Raes?

So, after three votes and 70 days, Enda Kenny is confident that he will secure the votes necessary to form a government today.

It comes after exhaustive negotiations with Fianna Fáil and independent TDs.

What did they agree on? Read the document yourself by clicking here.

Be warned, though, it’s 160 pages.

Posted by on Saturday, 17 April 2021

Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe says the vote will go ahead, which is a good thing. Otherwise this liveblog would look very silly indeed.