Latest: Government coalition voted into power by Dáil in Dublin Convention Centre

Latest: Government coalition voted into power by Dáil in Dublin Convention Centre

- Additional reporting by Digital Desk, Aoife Moore and Daniel McConnell

Latest: The Dáil has voted the new government into power with 91 yes votes in a final Dáil vote, with 66 no votes against and one abstention.

The new coalition government comes into form after long drawn out coalition negotiations between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens.

Earlier Micheál Martin announced his eleven nominations to the Seanad.

They include the former Government minister Regina Doherty and Eileen Flynn who becomes the first ever female traveller member of the Oireachtas.

  • Mary Fitzpatrick
  • Lorraine Clifford Lee
  • Erin McGreehan
  • Timmy Dooley
  • Regina Doherty
  • Aisling Dolan
  • Emer Currie
  • Mary Seery Kearney
  • Vincent P Martin
  • Róisín Garvey
  • Eileen Flynn

Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin leader, arriving in the Dublin Convention Centre.
Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin leader, arriving in the Dublin Convention Centre.

19:51: 'Tsunami of debt': Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and Labour outline opposition to new Government

Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and Labour have outlined their opposition to Micheál Martin's new Government

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall praised health services and the public's fight against Covid-19.

But she also says the public rejected the politics of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael during the February general election.

People had enough of the cost of living, insurance, energy and mortgage interest

She said that, in tackling the pandemic, it now looks like the two parties will go back to the “old ways of doing things.”

There was a continued reliance on the private sector to solve the housing crisis, no reform of childcare and no commitment on funding to reform health services until 2022.

"The intention is to get back to business as usual," she told the special Dail sitting.

Earlier, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald argued that people were facing a "tsunami of debt" after the pandemic.

But under the coalition programme for government, those aged 65 could “not retire with dignity” with their state pension, parents could not afford childcare while those with mental health challenges were “left to fend for themselves”.

Labour leader Alan Kelly called on the new government to appeal a recent court ruling on workers pay rights or for emergency legislation to overturn it.

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin speaking today in the Dáil Convention centre.
Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin speaking today in the Dáil Convention centre.

19.40: In his speech today, the new Taoiseach Micheál Martin unveiled a number of reforms to Government Departments.

In summary, as part of the department changes, the following adjustments have been made to the Cabinet minister's portfolios.

  • The responsibility for defence will be moved across from Taoiseach to Foreign Affairs which continues to be led by Simon Coveney.
  • Leo Varadkar will lead a restructured Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
  • Eamon Ryan will lead a major new portfolio. In addition to climate change and the natural environment, he will oversee other specific areas which are an essential part of the climate change agenda. This includes the Department of Transport as well as communication networks
  • There will be a new shared island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach in relation to the North.
  • The higher education sector will form a new, separate department and be combined with other science and innovation functions – including the area of science funding.
  • The Department of Children will also be boosted, with the role of disability-related issues held by a senior minister for the first time as well as integration.

19:25: Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he was “tinged with sadness” after the loss of several Fine Gael ministers earlier in the day. This followed the coalition deal and the inability not to return several to Cabinet.

He also had great praise for the Greens, saying they “definitely know how to play senior hurling” and that he was impressed by their passion and commitment during the government formation talks.

He said the coalition would be a “government of action”, ensuring there was change as demanded by the electorate in February.

“We must hit the ground running starting from today,” he said, reflecting on the need to boost the economy and country after the virus pandemic.

The coalition could lead "balanced regional growth, drive change for SMEs, decarbonise the economy and ensure Ireland was at the forefront of the digital future.

Green leader Eamon Ryan said the formation of the new departments was aimed at innovation. He also said, "collective responsibility" was needed at a Cabinet level among the three parties in the coalition.

The state would need to take risks during the recovery, he also warned.

The Green leader also spoke about lessons to learn about being in government, including when there was broad political agreement in the 1950s that helped open Ireland to the world, including around education and foreign investment.

Collective agreement was needed to go Green, he insisted.

Micheál Martin is the new Taoiseach. Photo: PA
Micheál Martin is the new Taoiseach. Photo: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced that work in the coming days will begin on a major jobs initiative to help begin the recovery after Covid-19.

Making his first speech after deciding his Cabinet and unveiling the members to the Dáil, Mr Martin said the country and government must use this challenge of overcoming the virus to take advantage of new opportunities.

He outlined priorities for the new Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Greens government, including foreign affairs, climate action and creating new jobs.

One of the first jobs will be a new Cabinet sub-committee which will plan out next month's jobs initiatives.

Policing would be reformed under justice, he also said, while deputy Fine Gael leader Simon Coveney would continue to help lead Ireland abroad as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

He said “early and sustained action” on housing was needed and that the new coalition was determined to allow people to buy and rent.

There was also a need for a public health service care for people that was "faster" and "high on standards", the Dáil heard.

A new third level ministry will also oversee boosting the role of science, Mr Martin said.

Expanding childcare protection would be a priority for the Cabinet too and that minister would also be responsible for disabilities as well as integration, Mr Martin said.

A free, independent and professional media was also important, he said, outlining how deputy Green leader Catherine Martin will hold that role as well overseeing Arts and the Irish language.

Mr Martin also outlined roles for new super junior ministers, including Fine Gael Hildegarde Naughten, who will be in the department of transport overseeing roads.

Full confirmed list of new Cabinet Ministers appointed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin

  • Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs
  • Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance
  • Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure
  • Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Éamon Ryan, Minister for Transport, Communication Networks and Climate Change
  • Helen McEntee, Minister for Justice
  • Catherine Martin, Minister for Culture, Arts, Media, Tourism and Sport
  • Barry Cowen, Minister for Agriculture
  • Heather Humphreys, Minister for Social Protection and Rural Affairs
  • Roderic O'Gorman, Minister for Equality, Children, Integration and Disability
  • Darragh O'Brien, Minister for Housing
  • Simon Harris, Minister for Social Protection
  • Stephen Donnelly, Minister For Health
  • Norma Foley, Minister for Education

19.00: Green Party and Fianna Fáil members unhappy with cabinet appoints.

Green Party TDs have expressed their dismay with the appointment of Senator Pippa Hackett as a super junior Minister by Eamon Ryan.

Ms Hackett will be Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for land use and biodiversity.

Choosing Ms Hackett for the real has been seen as a slight on those who did not support the programme for government within the party, with key TDs, such as Neasa Hourigan being overlooked.

It's understood Limerick TD Brian Leddin had been seen as the "consensus" candidate for the party to take the super junior role, which would have rallied the membership.

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil TDs were shocked at Micheál Martin's decision to exclude his own Deputy party leader Dara Calleary from his list of full Cabinet ministers.

Mr Calleary has been confirmed as Mr Martin’s Government Chief Whip which will allow him to sit at Cabinet, but he will not have a portfolio.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, numerous Fianna Fáil TDs expressed their shock at the decision.

“That will not go down well. Dara is a party man through and through and has worked his backside off since 2011. This is not a good move at all,” said one TD.

18:41:Government Formation: Cabinet appointments confirmed as Micheál Martin assumes the office of Taoiseach

The confirmed Cabinet appointments so far.

  • Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe will retain his position as Minister for Finance.
  • Michael McGrath from Fianna Fáil will be Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen will be Minister for Agriculture.
  • Minister for Justice will be Fine Gael's Helen McEntee-a significant promotion.
  • Fianna Fáil and first-time TD Norma Foley will be Minister for Education.
  • Darragh O'Brien from Fianna Fáil will be Minister for Housing.
  • The Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan will take on a beefed-up portfolio as Minister for Transport and Climate.
  • Catherine Martin ,Green Party Leadership Candidate will be Minister for Arts and Culture.
  • The last Green Party Minister will be Roderic O'Gorman who will take on the Equality and Children portfolio.

17:21: Possible Cabinet appointees sighted as a number of Fianna Fáil politicians meet with Micheál Martin.

President Michael D Higgins and Micheál Martin today after the Fianna Fáil leader was confirmed as Taoiseach. Picture: PA.
President Michael D Higgins and Micheál Martin today after the Fianna Fáil leader was confirmed as Taoiseach. Picture: PA.

New Taoiseach Micheál Martin has described his election as Taoiseach as "the greatest honour that any Irish person could hope for."

He said: "I am humbled by the responsibility and I pledge to work night and day with my partners in Government to realise the great potential of our nation."

Mr Martin is currently in the process of appointing his Cabinet.

Among those spotted going over to Government Buildings were Dara Calleary, Michael McGrath, Darragh O'Brien, Barry Cowen and Norma Foley.

The full Cabinet will be announced when the Dail reconvenes at 6pm.

The new Taoiseach had earlier received his seal of office from President Michael D Higgins at the Áras an Uachtaráin and has also taken the time to already update his Twitter profile.

Meanwhile, it is understood Regina Doherty, Aishling Dolan, Emer Currie and Mary Seery Kearney are set to be Leo Varadkar's Seanad nominations later this evening.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has been elected as Taoiseach by the Dáil winning the support of 93 TDs, thereby bolstering the start to the new coalition with the backing of Independents.

On top of the 84 seats for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens, another nine TDs gave Mr Martin their yes vote during the special Dáil sitting today.

However, some said they would keep the coalition to account while others signalled support may come for Mr Martin and the coalition in the parliament on matters on a case-by-case basis.

Six of the Regional Independents backed him as Taoiseach, while another three Independent TDs also supported him. There were also three abstentions from Independents.

The combined support from his Fianna Fail TDs, those in Fine Gael and the Greens bring to 84 those number of seats. But the extra weight behind the coalition will give the new government some breathing space as it faces into difficult days ahead after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Independents who voted for Mr Martin included Cathal Berry, Peter Fitzpatrick, Noel Grealish, Michael Lowry, Verona Murphy and Matt Shanahan, from the Regional Independent group. Independents TD Michael McNamara, Marian Harkin and Richard O'Donoghue also backed him as Taoiseach.

12pm: Independents will support the new coalition, calling for stability and for stronger supports to help the economy recover after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tipperary TD Michael Lowry was the first Independent in a special sitting of the Dáil today to indicate support for Michael Martin as Taoiseach.

He noted a "shift in political opinion" and the decline in the support for the twin pillars of Irish politics, which has been “gradual and progressive.”

The "single monopoly days are long over,” he said.

Independent TD Noel Grealish also said he would back the new Taoiseach, Micheál Martin. Nonetheless, he said he would hold the new coalition to account, signalling his support may come on a case-by-case basis.

The Galway West TD said more support and grants were needed for SMEs and clarity was needed on the national roads programme.

11.35am: People before Profit Richard Boyd Barrett TD said the programme for government was a “betrayal of demand for change” in the general election

He said the policies of politics of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have produced the "worst housing policies in the state and had failed to support the health system and tackle climate change and give a fair deal for working people.

"The fact of the matter is this programme for government has done nothing to address these issues."

He said it was "a reheating" of the previous problems, including the same housing policy of the last five years.

11.20am: Labour leader Alan Kelly said his party would oppose the nominations of both Mr Martin and Ms McDonald.

He said Ms McDonald's nomination came after the party's election manifesto was a "Late Late show" give everything to everybody policy.

He said Labour would oppose the nomination of Mr Martin as the coalition plan was a "lost opportunity" to change society.

"The financials behind this programme for government are comical. They are so comical, they don't exist."

The plan lacked timelines and costings, he said.

11.15am: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he supports the nomination of Micheál Martin for taoiseach.

Mr Ryan praised Mr Martin for the role of Taoiseach and said that he was "perfectly qualified".

He told the chamber that from direct experience that Mr Martin was "calm in a crisis", good-humoured and also thinks ahead and is not closed to new ideas about doing things

Mr Ryan said the new government would get to work immediately on Monday with a stimulus plan to get jobs back after the Covid-19 pandemic.

This would aim to provide affordable homes and a good public health system.

Mr Ryan said: “Micheál Martin is perfectly qualified to run the country; the programme for government provides a good plan; an immediate stimulus.”

Mr Ryan said the Green Party, along with coalition partners Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, “will get down to work on Monday morning, first thing.” He said the programme for government will be good for climate action and the environment.

“It is action stations time. We need to restore nature and our environment. We are connected to nature just as we are connected to each other.”

11.10am: Outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed his party, Fine Gael, would be supporting Mr Martin as Taoiseach as he also said that "today civil war politics ends in our parliament".

But he used his opening Dáil speech to attack Sinn Féin, accusing the party of focusing on spin and claiming that its TDs just wanted to get into the back of ministerial cars.

This was "not change", he argued.

"What a load of spin and nonsense.”

Mr Varadkar said that “Civil War politics” ends today.

“This is a historic occasion. I believe Civil War politics ended a long time ago in our country but today Civil War politics ends in our parliament,” Mr Varadkar said.

“Two great parties coming together with another great party, the Green Party, to offer what this country needs, a stable government for the betterment of our country and for the betterment of our world.

“I look forward to the privilege of serving in government with those two parties, as does my party.

“For my own party Fine Gael, it’s an opportunity, a third term in government, something we’ve never been able to do before, three consecutive terms.

Outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attacked Sinn Féin, accusing the party of focusing on spin and claiming that its TDs just wanted to get into the back of ministerial cars.
Outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attacked Sinn Féin, accusing the party of focusing on spin and claiming that its TDs just wanted to get into the back of ministerial cars.

“The chance to protect what has been achieved and secured over the past nine years and also a second chance, an opportunity to get right some of the things that we didn’t get right in the years gone by.

“I’m up for that challenge.”

11am: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has been nominated for the role of Taoiseach by her TDs Pearse Doherty and Mairead Farrell.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said Ms McDonald, unlike Micheal Martin, represents the change that people voted for in February.

“Today the Dáil can elect a leader that is a champion of change or have more of the same,” he said.

“Mary Lou McDonald is a champion for change and is not more of the same.”

Both Micheál Martin and Mary Lou McDonald have been nominated for the role of Taoiseach of the 33rd Dáil. File photo.
Both Micheál Martin and Mary Lou McDonald have been nominated for the role of Taoiseach of the 33rd Dáil. File photo.

Mairead Farrell TD said: “Fianna Fail are running scared of an electorate who reject their self-serving politics, which all too often runs with the hare and hunts with the hand.

“Fine Gael are doing everything in their power to reject the political change that people voted for in February.”

Ms McDonald told the Dáil Mr Martin would likely be Taoiseach, but that her party had won the general election in February and that the voices of half a million voters had been excluded from government negotiations.

She described the coalition between the two parties as a “marriage of convenience”.

“Faced with the prospect of losing their grip on power, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have circled the wagons,” she said.

Sinn Fein TDs said the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael alliance with the Greens would not produce change, as demanded in the election.

10.55am: Micheál Martin has been formally nominated as Taoiseach in a special Dáil sitting at the convention centre.

TDs are now debating his appointment ahead of formal votes around lunchtime. Kerry TD Norma Foley has launched nominations for Micheal Martin to be the next Taoiseach and leader of the new coalition which will include a “progressive programme for change”.

The Fianna Fáil TD said her leader had used his time in office to deliver progress.

Proposing Micheal Martin for Taoiseach, Ms Foley said it was an honour to nominate him.

She said: “When we look at the record of Deputy Micheál Martin you must give credit to the man. When we look at his record in Government and his time in office he was a progressive and reforming Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs.

“Deputy Micheal Martin has a valiant record of delivering for this free Republic.

“The programme for government agreed by Fianna Fáil is a progressive programme for change. Deputy Micheal Martin has the talent and tenacity we need to lead the country with distinction.”

He had been a reforming minister for education, reforming the primary school curriculum. She said he had continued work as minister for enterprise, ensuring there was inward investment going to companies. He had also championed humanitarian causes as minister for foreign affairs, including highlighting the Gaza strip.

“Deputy Martin has a proud record of delivering for this Green Republic,” she said.

Cork East TD James O'Connor, seconding the nomination, said Mr Martin had shown “great strength and resilience”.

    What to expect today

  • The 33rd Dáil will be formed.
  • In Dublin’s Convention Centre, not Leinster House, in order to adhere to social distancing rules, the Dáil will convene to elect the Taoiseach.

  • The Dáil will commence at 10.30am with the Proposer and Seconder of Nomination for Taoiseach given minutes each.
  • Fianna Fáil, backed by Fine Gael and the Green Party, will nominate Micheál Martin, while Sinn Fein will nominate their party leader Mary Lou McDonald.
  • Votes will be taken for the highest office in the land.
  • The Ceann Comhairle will call on the new Taoiseach for a statement, touching on the state of the nation’s finances, fighting Covid-19 and Brexit.
  • The house will adjourn for the new Taoiseach to travel to the Áras an Uachtaráin to receive the seal of office.
  • The House will reconvene at around 6pm when the nominations for the Cabinet will take place and are voted in.
  • The formation of the new coalition is expected to result in legislation relating to the operation of the Special Criminal Court being passed by the Seanad first thing on Monday morning, after Mr Martin announces the Taoiseach's 11 nominees.

10.35am: The 33rd Dáil begins in Dublin’s Convention Centre this morning for the first time ever to elect a new Taoiseach.

Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail said it has “taken us a long time to get here”.

“We know that we must continue to protect our people, to promote the societal developments that have emerged from the pandemic crisis and once again, rebuild our damaged economy,” he said.

“We must act to affect the change which the country needs and to conserve that which requires preservation.

“Together I firmly believe we are up to the challenge.”

10.10am: Micheál Martin is expected to be elected Taoiseach at the special sitting of the Dáil.

It comes after the members of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party voted to support the programme for government yesterday.

In the end, it was a healthy margin of more than three to one that saw the parties agree to go into government.

It is expected Micheál Martin will have the 84 votes of the three parties, but also the support of a number of independent TDs.

    It will be a day of firsts.

  • The first Dáil sitting in the Convention Centre.
  • The first Fine Gael - Fianna Fáil coalition.
  • The first time a sitting Taoiseach in Leo Varadkar has stepped down to the role of Tánaiste.
  • The first Cork Taoiseach since Jack Lynch in the late 70s.

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