'It is one of the greatest honours,' says incoming Taoiseach Micheál Martin

'It is one of the greatest honours,' says incoming Taoiseach Micheál Martin
93 TDs in total voted for Micheál Martin with 63 against and three abstentions.

Incoming Taoiseach Micheál Martin says “recovery and renewal” will underpin the new coalition's plans, as he thanked parties and Independents who backed him to lead the government.

Delivering his victory speech after receiving a total 93 votes as Taoiseach, and at times emotional, Mr Martin spoke about his family, his past but also the tough challenges ahead with the recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his victory speech, Mr Martin said: "There is no question what our most urgent work is.

"We are meeting away from our permanent chamber because of a historic pandemic which has struck Ireland and the rest of the world.

"As of today, 2,278 people on this island have lost their lives. Many thousands more have fought a long struggle to recover. There is no community, no part of our country which has escaped untouched.

"In the last three-and-a-half months enormous progress has been made in controlling the spread of the virus and treating those who have become sick.

For this and much more, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to staff working in our health system, in other frontline roles and within our public services.

He acknowledged the work done by the outgoing Fine Gael-led government to battle the virus, including by Leo Varadkar. He added:

“However, while there is no doubt that we have achieved important progress since March, the struggle against the virus is not over. We must continue to contain its spread.

“We must be ready to tackle any new wave. And we must move forward rapidly to secure a recovery to benefit all of our people.”

He noted how nearly “900,000 of our people wholly or partly relying on special pandemic payments”.

He pledged that the three parties in the new coalition, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens, would work together on trying to fix the country.

“Recovery and renewal. These are the themes which underpin everything in the programme for government which has been agreed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party and has been ratified by our members with overwhelming majorities.

“Our three parties come from very different traditions. We do not and could not be expected to agree on everything. However, we have been able to agree on core democratic principles and on a balanced and comprehensive programme.

“We are conscious of the fact that must work hard to build trust with each other and with the people we have a duty and privilege to serve.”

Mr Martin also had much praise for his family during the Dail address, while also noting his background and growing up in Cork

“My wife Mary has been a pillar of support and a partner for me since our days in college.

"Our children have tolerated my many absences over the years. As they have grown, studied and experienced the world they have not just supported me, they have given Mary and I the benefit of their views of the Ireland which they have grown up with.

“I was blessed to be born into the home which my late parents created for me and my brothers and sisters in the heart of the close-knit, working-class community which I have the enormous privilege of representing in Dáil Éireann.”

Mr Martin will now travel to Aras an Uachtarain to get his seal of office from President Michael D Higgins before travelling back to government buildings later today where he is expected to nominate ministers for his new Cabinet.

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