Micheál Martin becomes new Irish PM after historic coalition deal

Ireland’s new taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Micheál Martin has said the fight against Covid-19 will be his government’s first priority.

The 59-year-old Cork native was elected as the at a special meeting of the Irish parliament in Dublin.

He has been the leader of the Fianna Fáil party since 2011.

He will lead a three-party coalition consisting of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

Mr Martin said that to be elected to serve as taoiseach was “one of the greatest honours which anyone can receive”.

Speaking to the Dáil (Irish lower house) as taoiseach for the first time, Mr Martin said the focus would be on the social, economic, and cultural recovery from the coronavirus.

He said would would begin immediately on preparing an investment-led jobs and recovery initiative.

These proposals would be brought before the Dáil next month.

It is the first time in history that former Civil War rivals Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have governed together.

Mr Martin is expected to lead the country until December 2022 before handing back over to Leo Varadkar, the Fine Gael leader.

Mr Martin has been a member of the Dáil (lower house of Irish parliament) for just over 30 years.

He served as cabinet minister in several Fianna Fáil governments from 1997 to 2011.

As health minister in 2004, he became the first national government minister in any part of the world to introduce a workplace smoking ban, which also banned the public from lighting up in pubs.

source – BBC