Zappone set for ministerial role as new government to be formed today

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Talks between Independent TDs and Fine Gael are set to continue this morning ahead of a Dáil vote at 12pm to elect a taoiseach.

Local TD Katherine Zappone will probably be offered a ministerial position along with fellow independents Shane Ross and Denis Naughten.  It is believed the rest of the cabinet will be made up of 11 Fine Gael TDs with Zappone likely to be offered the position of Minister for Children.

We should also have a taoiseach elected today, at the forth time of asking, as Enda Kenny looks set to secure the six Independent votes needed to see him become Fine Gael’s first leader to be re-elected as taoiseach.

The Independent TDs met last night to discuss the 160-page draft “Programme for Government” document which Fine Gael had presented to them yesterday afternoon.

The programme, called ‘A Partnership for a Fairer Ireland’, sets out a five-year plan, even though Fine Gael’s agreement with Fianna Fáil for the facilitation of a minority government is subject to review at the end of 2018.

The programme states that health and housing are the key challenges facing the new Government.

It promises to meet a target of 25,000 new homes every year by 2020 and to end homelessness.

The percentage of patients waiting longer than six hours in emergency departments is also to drop from the current rate of 32pc to less than 7pc by 2021.

The new government also plans to spend “at least €6.75bn more on public services by 2021 compared to 2016”.