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Parties’ Good Friday agreement will see job-share Taoiseach

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (pictured) looks set to rotate the role of Taoiseach with  Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (pictured) looks set to rotate the role of Taoiseach with Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (pictured) looks set to rotate the role of Taoiseach with Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar are planning to set up a special Tanaiste’s office while they rotate the position of Taoiseach.

The new office will ensure both leaders are kept fully briefed of their counterpart’s movements while serving as government leader.

The controversial “mini-

Cabinet” that was used by Enda Kenny’s coalition is also being examined.

It comes as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael continue to negotiate a policy framework document.

The platform was agreed by negotiating teams last night – Good Friday – and sent to party leaders for approval.

Swap

A rotating Taoiseach arrangement is still on the table for the new coalition, with Mr Martin serving for the first two years of the administration.

Mr Varadkar would become Tanaiste, before the parties swap roles after Mr Martin’s time.

To ensure the Tanaiste on each occasion is kept fully aware of what is happening, the coalition is looking at bringing back the Office of the Tanaiste.

During his term in office in the mid-1990s, then Tanaiste and Labour Party leader Dick Spring set up a formal Office of the Tanaiste, which gave a stronger presence to the junior party in Government Buildings.

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Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Most papers and briefings going to the Taoiseach would also have to go to the Tanaiste, to give the junior coalition party oversight of every department.

The Dick Spring model is now regarded as a given for the new government.

Less certain is a structure similar to the Economic Management Council that was operated during the Fine Gael and Labour coalition under Mr Kenny and Eamon Gilmore.

That comprised the Taoiseach, Tanaiste, Finance Minister and Public Expenditure Minister and made most of the major economic, budgetary and financial decisions.

However, there were complaints from ministers outside that cohort about their exclusion and it was ditched when Joan Burton took over as Labour leader.

A type of management committee to work as a “clearing house” will be examined by Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin.

Senior figures in both parties said a series of structures and measures to ensure trust between the two parties will be put in place.

“The Office of the Tanaiste is a strong idea that has to be looked at,” a Fine Gael source said.

Distrust

“Where do you put Leo or

Micheal if they’re Tanaiste? You’re creating a new dynamic, thereby reducing potential friction or distrust.”

Mr Martin is already seeking to prepare his party members to back a coalition with Fine Gael.

A growing grassroots movement led by Eamon O Cuiv opposes the coalition.

Any programme for government agreement will have to be passed by a special Fianna Fail ard fheis with all 18,000 of the party’s members entitled to have their say, with at least 1,500 expected to attend.

Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary, public expenditure spokesman Barry Cowen and finance spokesman Michael McGrath are understood to be working the phones, talking with backbenchers and councillors to muster support for the agreement.