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Varadkar 'open to Greens' Ryan becoming Taoiseach for a year'

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Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar made the comments at an event in
Grangegorman

Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar made the comments at an event in Grangegorman

Colin Keegan

Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar made the comments at an event in Grangegorman

Leo Varadkar is open to a proposal for Green Party leader Eamon Ryan to become Taoiseach in the next government.

Mr Varadkar said he would "listen to any proposal that any party puts forward" when asked about the possibility that Mr Ryan could serve as Taoiseach for one year if the Greens join a coalition government with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

The Fine Gael leader also did not rule out Labour leader Alan Kelly or Social Democrats co-leaders Roisin Shortall and Catherine Murphy serving as Taoiseach if either of those parties join a coalition when the idea was put to him at an event in Grangegorman yesterday.

"Well, what we've agreed is that we'll have a coalition of equals between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and obviously, as you'll be aware, Micheal Martin and I have an understanding as to how that would work out," he said.

"But we're both absolutely aware that it's not our decision to make and we really want to make sure that any third party or even a fourth party or a fourth group is very much involved in formulating the programme for government, and also the agreement on how that government would work.

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

Asked about the possibility of Mr Ryan serving for one year as Taoiseach, while he and Fianna Fail leader Mr Martin serve two years each, Mr Varadkar said: "That's absolutely up to him to speak about it. I can't speak for the leader of the Green Party or Labour Party… we'll listen to any proposal that any other party puts forward."

Substantial

The Green Party's TDs, senators and MEPs met again via the Zoom video conferencing app yesterday to consider their response to the Fianna Fail-Fine Gael framework document published last week.

However, the party response will not be issued until later this week, it is understood, with a source saying it will be a "substantial" response to the framework document.

The Greens have signalled a list of demands, including a commitment from the Civil War parties to reduce carbon emissions by 7pc per annum, a 2:1 split in capital investment in public transport over roads; and specific pledges on the construction of cost-rental housing units and public housing near existing urban centres.