Incoming Taoiseach Micheál Martin has promised a major national economic recovery plan and multi-billion euro stimulus as early as next month to “get people back to work”.
Mr Martin described as “unique” and “historic” the deal agreed between his party,
Mr Martin will be formally elected the country’s leader during a special sitting of Dáil Éireann held at Dublin’s Convention Centre due to social distancing requirements.
All three parties voted by large majorities to endorse the proposal to enter government.
Speaking exclusively to the Irish Examiner, Mr Martin said: “I am calm enough but daunted by the significant challenge ahead.
“We will get working straight away. I will be working on all fronts to deliver an economic recovery plan in July, looking at a jobs and recovery plan, looking at a stimulus plan to help people get back to work. That will be the immediate focus.
“I am delighted with the outcome in all three parties. It is an emphatic endorsement of all three parties by their membership who are clear a government needs to be formed.
“It was a very mature decision by my party. The emphatic nature of the vote was telling.”
Mr Martin confirmed that his new Cabinet will meet tonight and again early next week to begin preparing that national recovery plan.
He also confirmed he will appoint his 11 Seanad nominees today while the appointment of junior ministers will take place “early next week.”
In terms of the results, Fine Gael members voted by 80% to 20% while Fianna Fáil members voted by a margin of 74% to 26% in favour of entering government. The Green Party, needing a two-thirds majority, voted by 76% to 24% in favour of the deal.
Mr Martin will become the country’s 15th Taoiseach and the first Cork Taoiseach since Jack Lynch retired in 1979.
Outgoing taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, who is set to become Tánaiste, said that the vote of his party was significant as all four sections of the electoral college voted for the deal.
It is a result that Mr Varadkar, the Fine Gael president, said he “wasn’t entirely sure” he would win, but he said it was a strong mandate for entering government.
“So Fine Gael is going to enter a third term in government and this new coalition united and strong, and we’re looking forward to helping get the country through the Covid emergency, getting people back to work, businesses open and pursuing some of the reforms we got started in the last couple of years,” he said.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said there is a “sense of responsibility on us now because we do have a job to do”.
In terms of Cabinet appointments, Mr Martin looks set to appoint his Cork South Central constituency colleague Michael McGrath, his deputy leader Dara Calleary, Offaly TD Barry Cowen, and Galway TD Anne Rabbitte.
Others in contention include Thomas Byrne, Jim O’Callaghan, and Jack Chambers.
Mr Varadkar’s team looks set to include Simon Coveney, Paschal Donohoe, Heather Humphreys, Simon Harris, Helen McEntee, and possibly Hildegarde Naughten.
Mr Ryan and his deputy leader Catherine Martin are certain to be Green ministers while the third Cabinet slot could go to Joe O’Brien, Roderic O’Gorman, or Ossian Smyth.