Katherine Zappone: Enda Kenny vote ‘not bought’ by ministerial role

Independent TD Katherine Zappone has insisted that she was not “formally” offered anything to back Enda Kenny in last Thursday’s Dáil taoiseach nomination vote, despite widespread speculation she may be in line for a potential ministerial role.

Ms Zappone’s denial comes as a weekend report claimed it would cost €13bn to put in place the demands of 15 Independents in negotiations with Fine Gael if they were to enter power.

During last week’s third taoiseach nomination vote, the newly elected TD for Dublin South West chose to vote for Fine Gael leader Mr Kenny, effectively forcing Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to admit defeat.

Senior Fine Gael figures confirmed that, due to concerns that Fianna Fáil was winning the battle for Independents’ support, they phoned unaligned TDs until 2am and contacted Ms Zappone directly that morning.

The timeline dovetails with Ms Zappone’s decision to publish a message on social media on Thursday morning saying she was going to abstain, before choosing to back Mr Kenny hours later.

However, despite ongoing speculation over whether Ms Zappone is in line for a cabinet or junior minister position, Ms Zappone told RTÉ radio she has not been “formally” offered anything.

“I have not asked for anything for my personal gain, or anything for my constituency,” Mr Kenny’s one-time Seanad nominee said.

Asked why she had chosen to switch her vote at the 11th hour, Ms Zappone — who stressed her interest in equality and education — said she simply reflected on what faces the country.

Meanwhile, a Sunday newspaper claimed it would cost €13bn to implement all demands by Independents in government.

Fine Gael is continuing talks with Labour on the formation of a government.

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