Opposition leaders outline their demands for new Taoiseach

Leo Varadkar has received a list of demands from opposition leaders on his first day as Taoiseach with warnings that, if they are not met, there will be calls for a general election.

Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin said his opponent’s views were “right wing” and warned of consequences for the government support pact if there was any manipulation of issues, such as the budget.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams criticised Mr Varadkar’s previous role as health minister and his recent campaign to stamp out welfare fraud.

While most leaders and TDs refrained from attacking the incoming Taoiseach, he was warned of the failings of the outgoing Enda Kenny administration and of what his tenure should be.

Very little was known about his views despite being 10 years a TD, argued Mr Martin. He had also attempted to claim credit for some progress in previous portfolios, he added.

“In fact there was something almost indecent about the attempt to snatch credit from James Reilly for the few bright spots in his time as minister for health.

“There were also misgivings about what type of politics the new Taoiseach might promote,” said Mr Martin.

“It is certainly true that Deputy Varadkar’s views would be significantly more right wing on most economic topics than the centre-ground consensus. In last year’s negotiations his approach was very distinct from that of his colleagues.

“During his leadership contest he again gave an emphasis which showed him to be, by instinct, more inclined to prioritising deregulation and tax cuts ahead of a more social emphasis.”

Mr Adams, though, suggested a general election might be needed. He also warned of stronger reforms needed under the Varadkar administration, including in health, justice as well as housing.

Labour’s Brendan Howlin criticised the Fine Gael government, saying that it had the worst record in enacting legislation.

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