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Pressure mounts to hold fresh vote for Taoiseach this week

As of yet, no submission has been made to the Business Committee.

Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sinn Fein party leader Mary Lou McDonald
Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sinn Fein party leader Mary Lou McDonald
Image: Leah Farrell

LABOUR LEADER BRENDAN Howlin believes that a second vote for who should be the next Taoiseach should be held on Thursday. 

Howlin wrote to the Ceann Comhairle last week to ask for another meeting of the Business Committee before the Dáil comes back on Thursday.

It is understood that no Labour Party representative attended the previous meeting last week where it was agreed that no vote should be held on the second day the Dáil reconvenes.

At that meeting, Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh protested against the decision not to hold a vote

The decision not to hold a vote was based on there not being enough progress made in the government formation talks to date.

However, some TDs have argued that not holding a vote stalls momentum and urgency to get a government formed. 

Since last week there has been speculation that one of the parties may submit an application for the vote to go ahead. 

As of yet, no submission has been made to the Business Committee.

It is understood that any such submission would need to be made sooner rather than later, as any change in business, especially this important, would have to be communicated to TDs and parties prior to Thursday.

In his letter to the Ceann Comhairle, Howlin said that “it was a mistake” not to hold a vote for Taoiseach this week. 

“That it is a constitutional imperative that a new government be elected as soon as possible after the convening of a new Dáil.

“I do not believe any meeting of the Dáil should occur without a vote for Taoiseach until a new Government is formed,” he said. 

The last vote

On the first day of the 33rd Dáil, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald received the most votes to become the next Taoiseach. 

However, despite receiving 45 votes, both Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and other smaller parties, such as the Green Party voted against McDonald in greater numbers, with 84 voting against her and 29 abstentions. 

Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar got 36 votes in favour of him continuing as Taoiseach, with 107 votes against and 16 abstentions.

There were 41 votes in favour of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin becoming Taoiseach, with 97 against and 19 abstentions.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan received 12 votes in favour of him as Taoiseach, with 115 votes against and 28 TDs abstaining. 

The Dáil will return for the second day since the general election, where TDs will discuss the coronavirus in a six-hour debate as well as the recent European Council meeting. 

The pressure to hold a fresh vote comes ahead of Fine Gael’s two days of meetings with the Green Party.

Fine Gael will then hold a one-day policy meeting with Fianna Fáil on Wednesday.

Not talking about a programme for government 

Speaking today, Leo Varadkar said he wanted to be “very clear” that Fine Gael hasn’t refused to meet any party or any group of independents. 

“We are very happy to engage and share our analysis about the current political situation and some of the solutions that we want to work on,” he said. 

He added that the party is not engaging on talks in relation to a programme for government. 

“We had an election last month, the opposition parties and opposition independents won over 120 seats. You needed 80 to form a government. They wanted us out and the onus is very much on them to form a government for the duration of the 33rd Dáil,” said Varadkar. 

“That doesn’t mean we can’t talk to other parties and cooperate with them, and we’re willing to do that,” he added. 

The Cabinet will meet tomorrow where the care-taker government ministers will discuss the flooding around the country as well as what it is being done to contain the coronavirus cases.

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