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Leo Varadkar agrees to rotating Taoiseach in Irish Government formation talks

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(left to right) Health Minister Simon Harris, Anne Graham CEO of the National Transport Authority, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Transport Minister Shane Ross in Dublin city centre encouraging passengers to wear face masks on public transport in Ireland as coronavirus lockdown measures are eased. PA Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

(left to right) Health Minister Simon Harris, Anne Graham CEO of the National Transport Authority, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Transport Minister Shane Ross in Dublin city centre encouraging passengers to wear face masks on public transport in Ireland as coronavirus lockdown measures are eased. PA Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

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(left to right) Health Minister Simon Harris, Anne Graham CEO of the National Transport Authority, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Transport Minister Shane Ross in Dublin city centre encouraging passengers to wear face masks on public transport in Ireland as coronavirus lockdown measures are eased. PA Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Leo Varadkar has revealed he and Micheal Martin have agreed a date for rotating the position of Taoiseach in the new Irish Government.

Mr Varadkar gave the strongest indication to date that Mr Martin will be the first of the pair to hold the office once the programme for government is officially agreed.

“There'll be a rotating Taoiseach,” he said before adding: "We've agreed the date for that rotation to happen”.

He said details of how the office will be rotated are contained in the draft programme for government.

The Fine Gael leader’s comment came after Fianna Fail frontbench TD Michael McGrath said he expected Mr Martin to serve as Taoiseach first. The Taoiseach said he expected a programme for government to be agreed this morning.

Mr Varadkar also revealed that the new programme for government will commit to a package of tax cuts that could be worth as much as €6bn over the next five years.

“We've got a very strong section on tax,” he said.

He said this will include a “tax shield” which will ensure there are no income or USC tax cuts in the next budget.

“And after that it'll be linked to increased earnings so a tax package that could be worth as much as €6billion over the course of the next government in terms of income tax and USC,” he added.

He said the three parties involved in negotiations also agreed to reduce the country’s deficit each year once the economy returns to growth.

He said the state pension age will be deferred pending the outcome of a commission on pensions.

Mr Varadkar also said the National Broadband Plan may be accelerated by the new government.

He also said there will be a new care deal which will seek to address the needs of all people from the “cradle to the grave”.

It comes as a Green revolution is set to transform Irish politics after more than a month of high-stakes government talks delivered a series of massive ‘wins’ for Eamon Ryan’s party.

The two Civil War parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, are on the brink of forming a historic coalition after making a series of concessions to secure the Green Party’s support.

Negotiating teams from all three parties broke up in the early hours of Sunday morning after finishing a draft programme for government to be considered by their party leaders.

Mr Martin, Mr Varadkar and Mr Ryan met last night to thrash out outstanding issues such as the State pension age, plans for income tax and USC, and future increases in carbon tax.

Those talks ultimately failed to result in a final programme for government deal last night and were to resume on Monday morning.

Mr Martin last night said he expected the leaders to sign off on the document this morning. “We’re nearly there,” he said.

Irish Independent