Varadkar: 'I will try and make sure that I have less leaky ministers'

It comes after criticism of Fine Gael leaks to the Irish Examiner in which Ministers said there was only a 50/50 chance of a government being formed with Fianna Fáil and the Greens.
Varadkar:  'I will try and make sure that I have less leaky ministers'
The Taoiseach said: "Once again I have to apologise for some of my leaky ministers."

Leo Varadkar has said he will have to leave out some of his Ministers who are prone to leaking in appointments to the next government.

It comes after criticism of Fine Gael leaks to the Irish Examiner in which Ministers said there was only a 50/50 chance of a government being formed with Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Micheál Martin has described the comments as unhelpful as the parties enter programme for government negotiations.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "Once again I have to apologise for some of my leaky ministers. I will try and make sure that I have less leaky ministers next time if I have the opportunity to appoint ministers again.

"What's happened is that talks now begun at long last between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens and are still open to Labour and the Social Democrats to join those talks and we are still keeping in touch with independents who might be willing to support a new government."

The Irish Examiner reported that talks had formally begun yesterday between the parties but that the likelihood of success in the discussions aimed at forming a government was put at “less than 50:50” because of the internal wrangling within the Green Party.

Speaking about the meetings on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, Mr Varadkar said that any agreement with Fianna Fáil would be on the basis of an equal partnership.

“He said: "We have agreed with Fianna Fail that any government we take part in will be an equal partnership.

“The key test for me and people in our party is can we come up with a programme for government that’s in the interests of the country that’s realistic and helps get us through this help crisis - get people back to work, businesses open again, and the economy humming again.

This is an unprecedented situation politically as well as in terms of the history of our country.

“There’s always been a deal at the end, and that deal has always been ratified by the parties involved in the Dáil - but things that we believed to always be true up until the last few weeks have turned out to be different.

“If you go back over the history of our democracy, once talks start - at least up until now - there has always been a deal at the end. Fine Gael has entered these talks in good faith.”

Earlier Micheál Martin said he does not know if a government can be formed by June.

The Fianna Fáil leader also would not be drawn on who would be Taoiseach first.

He said: "I'm not going to go there, I think my own view is that before we get there at all we do need to agree a programme for government."

In response to a question about the government’s response to Covid-19, Mr Varadkar said it was unlikely that the public would be asked to wear masks consistently when outside the home, but it could be a possible requirement in enclosed spaces such as public transport or shops.

Mr Varadkar said that the pandemic unemployment payment and wage subsidy scheme would continue beyond mid-June. While the schemes “can’t last forever”, withdrawing them would have to be done in a gradual way.

“You would do it as businesses have the opportunity to reopen and as people have the opportunity to get their jobs back. Bear in mind you lose the payment if you don’t take your job back, if you are offered it.

“In some cases that may not arise until August, so it will need to be extended beyond the middle of June.”

Exact details of how the schemes will continue have not been worked out yet, he added, the Government will make their plans clear before the end of May.

- additional reporting from Vivienne Clarke

More in this section