70 days on, Taoiseach Enda Kenny can drop 'acting' title

After almost 70 days of stalemate, acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny will finally be able to drop the addition to his normal title this afternoon after he is re-elected to government.

Barring a possible but highly unlikely 11th hour U-turn by some Independents, the Fine Gael leader will arrive in Leinster House at 12pm today for the fourth taoiseach nomination vote since the general election of February 26.

Mr Kenny is expected to be elected unopposed to the position after being nominated once again by newly elected Dublin North West party colleague Noel Rock.

At this point he will travel to Áras an Uachtaráin to be formally confirmed as taoiseach by President Michael D Higgins under article 13.1 of the Constitution.

It is expected that after travelling back from the Phoenix Park, Mr Kenny will contact individual Fine Gael members and Independents to formally offer them cabinet positions.

While the Fine Gael appointments will involve straightforward offers, it is believed the taoiseach will have to contact the Independent Alliance and the group of five rural TDs to inform them of who he wants for the roles.

The separate Independent groups are likely to agree to any offers put forward, before Mr Kenny formally signs off on his cabinet selection and a number of junior minister roles.

While it remains possible that the taoiseach will wait to announce his new government team until after the weekend, it is widely expected he will instead return to Áras an Uachtaráin this evening to seek formal approval for the appointments from the President.

In previous years this visit has on occasion seen the would-be ministers follow for moral support in a hired minibus.

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