Leo Varadkar gets backing of Independent Alliance in bid for Taoiseach

Leo Varadkar gets backing of Independent Alliance in bid for Taoiseach

The Independent Alliance has confirmed that it will be supporting Leo Varadkar in the vote for Taoiseach on Wednesday, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.

The five members of the Alliance – Shane Ross, John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran and Sean Canney – met with Mr Varadkar this morning.

Speaking afterwards to the Irish Examiner, members of the alliance said they had a very constructive meeting at Government Buildings this morning.

During the meeting, Mr Varadkar told the Alliance that their current positions are safe and will be unchanged when he announces his new Cabinet.

According to some at the meeting, the alliance and Mr Varadkar discussed a broad range of issues including the need for government stability, Brexit, rural affairs and agreed to honour the commitments contained in the Programme for a Partnership Government.

“It was also agreed that there would be more free votes in the Dáil in future and priority will be given to ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” a statement said.

Specifically, they have agreed to accelerate certain pieces of legislation, including the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017, the Keeping People in Their Homes Bill 2017 and the Criminal Justice (Commission of Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2017.

Mr Varadkar said: "I very much welcome the statement of support from the Independent Alliance. I am committed to working with the Independent Alliance and other independent representatives to provide effective leadership and strong government. This morning's talks were open and positive and focused on how we can implement the Programme for Government more effectively.

"This will involve a review of legislation and seeing which issues can be prioritised. There is a renewed enthusiasm across Government for implementing the Programme for Government. Although Ireland faces many challenges, the most significant of these being Brexit, it's great to see such positivity and potential for progress."

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