Incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar promises ‘republic of opportunity’

Incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will today say he will mandate the government to build “a republic of opportunity”, as he makes his first address as the country’s leader.

The Fine Gael leader is also expected to reflect on values in his party, in his first address to the Dáil as successor to Enda Kenny. A theme of his tenure is expected to be equality of opportunity, including in education, employment, people’s personal lives and their rights, according to sources close to him.

The Dublin West TD is also expected to mention the importance of battling Brexit as well as other international developments. The future of Europe will likely be addressed.

The new Taoiseach will also announce today that he is increased the clothing and footwear allowance for eligible school children by 25%, as well as an increase in the rates of direct provision for both adults and children.

Sources in his team expect there will be developments in supporting families, developing social insurance and making education less costly during his tenure.

Furthermore, Mr Varadkar’s advisers are keen to advocate free enterprise and initiatives in the workplace. He is today expected to touch on some of these themes, but a priority will be mandating government to “build a republic of opportunity”, stressed Varadkar sources.

The issues will be addressed after Mr Varadkar is voted in as Taoiseach.

During the day he will visit Áras an Uachtaráin to receive his official seal of office from President Michael D Higgins. He will then return to Government Buildings and start informing ministers of their roles, before the Cabinet will be led into the Dáil chamber. The new group will then travel to the Áras for their seals of office before the first formal Cabinet meeting.

Mr Varadkar is expected to name his junior ministers next Tuesday, sources have confirmed. This was relayed to parliamentary party members yesterday by Mr Varadkar. The move also allows him to address any upset or fall out from his senior appointments being decided today.

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