second term | 

Leo Varadkar elected as Taoiseach for second time after Micheál Martin gets standing ovation

Sinn Féin members joined Government TDs in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party in applauding Mr Martin as he announced his resignation

Leo Varadkar elected Taoiseach© PA

Philip Ryan and Eoghan MoloneyIndependent.ie

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has been elected as Taoiseach for a second time.

Mr Varadkar received 87 votes as he rotates office with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

His election to the highest appointment in office was opposed by 62 TDs.

TDs from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party along with some Independents supported a Dáil vote returning Mr Varadkar to the Taoiseach’s Office for the first times since 2020.

Mr Varadkar will now travel to the Áras an Uachtaráin where he will receive his seal of office from President Michael D Higgins

Outgoing Taoiseach Micheál Martin received a standing ovation from almost the entire Dáil as he stepped down from his position.

Sinn Féin members joined Government TDs in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party in applauding Mr Martin as he announced his resignation.

Only members of the the far-left People Before Profit remained in their seats after the Fianna Fáil leader delivered his final Dáil speech as Taoiseach.

In his closing statement, Mr Martin said Government “only works if people trust each other and respect each other’s mandates”.

“As Taoiseach, I have tried to treat all office holders fairly and been available to consult and help whenever needed,” he said.

Mr Martin paid tribute to his own family, especially his wife Mary and also his political staff who worked with him throughout his time in office.

Mr Martin thanked his wife Mary and children Micheál Aodh and Ruairí for their support, “encouragement and occasional criticism, particularly my wife Mary who has tried to keep me on time during my life”,

He made special mention of the work carried out by those working in the public service.

The soon to be appointed Tánaiste said the Covid Pandemic showed the “true spirit” of Irish public service.

“We did not, nor could we, get everything right in responding to the pandemic – but the facts show that Ireland was able to limit the terrible impact of the virus well below that seen in most comparable countries,” he said.

Mr Martin said it a “privilege and a responsibility” to serve as head of government in a “free and democratic republic”.

I have been deeply conscious of this every day I have held the office of Taoiseach,” he said.

“I have sought always to work on behalf of all the Irish people and not just those who support my party and our colleagues in government,” he added

Mr Martin also paid tribute to Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkary, and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. He also praised Paul Gallagher who he said was “one of the great attorney generals”.

He said Ireland was a pro EU country that will always stand up the “extreme right and left”.

In reference to his Shared Island Unit, he said people “must stop making assumptions about each other and get to know each other”.

“If there is one thing we should all be able to acknowledge, it is that if we genuinely believe in an Ireland which includes and serves all, then we must be prepared to build new bridges. We must be prepared to reach across divides and to do the hard work of learning to understand and respect each other far more than we have in the past,” he added.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the reunification of the island of Ireland presents a “big opportunities” for the country but insisted it would not happen with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in Government.

“With a change in leadership and change in Government we will get there,” Ms McDonald said. She said Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are “essentially the one party now”.

She said the parties along with the Greens worked under “might and mane to keep change out” of Government.

“You can’t prevent the new dawn breaking, the light of a better tomorrow burns brightly…you can make the people wait a little longer but you cannot and will not stop that change,” she said

Mr Martin left government buildings this and travelled to Áras an Úachtaráin to tender his resignation as Taoiseach to President Michael D.Higgins after two-and-a-half years in the role.

Mr Martin and his wife Mary were received at Phoenix Park.

In a video address posted on social media this morning, Mr Martin said it was the “honour of a lifetime to serve you in my capacity as Taoiseach”.

"I want to take this chance to thank so many people across the length and breadth of the country for their courtesy and kindness as I met you on many, many occasions.

"I’m looking forward to the second phase of this government. We’ve done a lot, but we still have a lot to do,” Mr Martin said.

Richard Bruton nominated Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach and Deputy Emer Higgins seconded the nomination.

It has been suggested Mr Martin will take up the role currently occupied by Simon Coveney – Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Mr Martin took over as Taoiseach in June 2020 following the February 2020 General Election in which Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party entered a coalition together.

It was agreed that Mr Varadkar would be Taoiseach for the second half of the five-year term of government.


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