By Patrick Brogan
The coronation is complete, but Leo Varadkar faces a number of critical issues as he becomes the new Taoiseach. Chief among them is keeping support in a minority government. How much significance can we read into Michael Lowry’s support and how long will Fianna Fáil prop up this Government?
The worrying thing is Michael Lowry. He told RTÉ News; “that he will back Leo Varadkar in Wednesday’s Dáil vote to elect a Taoiseach and in all anticipated budget votes during the lifetime of the Government.” The article goes further to say; “Mr Lowry’s backing gives the Fine Gael leader a guaranteed 58 votes which combined with Fianna Fáil abstaining, all but secures his elevation to the Office of Taoiseach.
“The Independent TD said he believes the country needs stability and continuity and he feels Mr Varadkar has the intellect and decisiveness to provide this.
“He said he welcomed the new Fine Gael leader’s pledge to increase spending on capital projects saying it would lead to more investment in schools, hospitals and roads.
“Mr Lowry said too that he raised problems in the health service in Tipperary, including overcrowding at Clonmel Hospital, with the Taoiseach-elect.”
I don’t trust Lowry, nor should anyone else that knows of the Moriarity Tribunal and his dealings with Denis O’Brien. What’s in it for Lowry? It will be interesting to see if Clonmel Hospital gets preferential treatment. Fine Gael are desperate for his vote and he has them over a barrel. I imagine he made a series of demands.
Varadkar’s minority government is totally depended on Fianna Fáil abstaining. When Fianna Fáil changes this arrangement it will force an election. Fianna Fáil is holding all the cards. So, while the media may go on to comment on how Irish society has changed because we have an openly gay and son of an immigrant Taoiseach, which is a big deal in itself, the day feels like Fianna Fáil are the ones with real power. We need a General Election to change this uneasy accord and for the country to go in a fresh direction, one that moves away from austerity measures and protecting the rich. If Fianna Fáil truly cares about the ordinary members of this society, Micheál will push the red button.
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