Government talks: Katherine Zappone in line for junior ministry after supporting Enda Kenny

Katherine Zappone stands to be made a junior minister if Fine Gael is returned to government after supporting Enda Kenny in the vote for taoiseach yesterday.

The TD was the only one of the 15 Independents who have been involved in government formation talks to vote in favour of Mr Kenny’s nomination for Taoiseach yesterday.

Tipperary TD Michael Lowry also backed Mr Kenny. However, he has not been part of the protracted talks that started after the general election in February.

Ms Zappone had tweeted yesterday morning that she would be abstaining in the third vote to try elect a taoiseach.

However, Mr Kenny made contact with Ms Zappone after her tweet and she supported his nomination when the ballot went ahead.

She is now tipped to receive a junior ministerial role in a Fine Gael-led minority government or could be given commitments on a number of policy issues, including repealing the Eighth Amendment, a cause she favours.

A Fine Gael source said: “We are going to see some Independents in junior ministerial roles in a minority government and she would be very capable.”

However, with Fine Gael now reaching out to Labour, the Green Party, and the Social Democrats, competition for cabinet seats in any minority government could be fierce if smaller parties get on board.

Speaking after voting for Mr Kenny, Ms Zappone said: “I have made numerous recommendations with regard to the housing crisis, the lack of affordable childcare, that we must address the issue of a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, and that people with disabilities require more government support to achieve independence.

“I believe that full equality is possible. I think that Fine Gael is willing to do this.

“I hope that my vote today for Enda Kenny as taoiseach brings us closer to forming a minority government.”

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