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Leo Varadkar open to leader of third partner in government becoming taoiseach

Green party leader Eamon Ryan and Labour leader Alan Kelly have been touted.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Leo Varadkar has suggested he would be open to a proposal that would see the leader of a third party in a Fianna Fail/Fine Gael coalition become taoiseach.

Mr Varadkar said that he and Micheal Martin have agreed there will be a coalition of equals between both parties.

The leaders are courting the Social Democrats, Labour, Greens and various independent TDs to try to secure the numbers to form a stable administration in the wake of February’s inconclusive election.

Asked whether Green party leader Eamon Ryan or Labour leader Alan Kelly could take the role of taoiseach in the next government, Mr Varadkar said he will “listen to any proposal”.

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “What we’ve agreed is that is that we’ll have a coalition of equals between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and obviously Micheal Martin and I have an understanding as to how that would work out.

“We are both absolutely aware that it is not our decision to make.

“We really want to make sure that any third party or even a fourth party or fourth group are very much involved in formulating the programme for government and also the agreement on how that government will work.

“The ball is very much now in the courts of those other parties as to whether they want to be part of that or not.”

Asked if Mr Ryan could become taoiseach, Mr Varadkar said it was “absolutely up to him”.

“I can’t speak for the leader of the Green party or the Labour party,” Mr Varadkar added.

“We will listen to any proposal that any other party puts forward.”

PA