Harris receives declarations of support outside Coalition

Fine Gael leader Simon Harris has been receiving declarations of support from outside of the Coalition parties, which will smooth his way to become Taoiseach next Tuesday in a Dáil vote.

Mr Harris has received the support of three Independent TDs and further meetings are scheduled with others tomorrow.

Michael Lowry, Independent TD for Tipperary, announced in a statement that he will support Mr Harris after what he described as robust and positive discussions.

The incoming Taoiseach has agreed to open Government communications channels with Mr Lowry and to liaise with him about projects for his constituency.

During their discussions, Mr Lowry raised the stark situation at University Hospital Limerick, the need for a support package for farmers and the urgency around providing financial supports for small businesses.

Meanwhile, Denis Naughten, TD for Roscommon-Galway, said on social media: “I look forward to working with him over the next 12 months as Taoiseach, and I’ll be voting for him next Tueday.”

He added: “I know Simon Harris for well over 20 years. I have worked with him in the past on flooding issues, health issues and science issues. And hope to continue to do so.”

Deputy Marc MacSharry had already declared that he will back Mr Harris for Taoiseach in the vote on Tuesday, 9 April.

The Independent TD for Sligo-Leitrim told RTÉ News this was because of the Wicklow TD’s “personal attention to the amalgamation of St Angela’s College with the Atlantic Technological University”.

Neasa Hourigan has also said that she will be backing Mr Harris for Taoiseach

Separately, two other deputies have backed Mr Harris to become Taoiseach.

Dublin Central deputy Neasa Hourigan, who is currently suspended from the Green Party, has also said that she will be backing Mr Harris in Tuesday’s vote for Taoiseach.

Donegal TD Joe McHugh, who resigned the Fine Gael party whip over the mica issue, has said he will back Mr Harris.

The Independent TD Cathal Berry said tonight that he is due to meet with Mr Harris tomorrow to discuss his possible support in the Dáil vote.

Independent TD Noel Grealish confirmed that he will meet Mr Harris tomorrow about his possible support.

However, Independent TD Seán Canney is reserving his position.

He told RTÉ News: “I met Simon Harris yesterday evening and we spoke for an hour-and-a-half.

“He is to come back on some issues, and I remain undecided.”

Another Independent TD Matt Shanahan said he is yet to hear from Mr Harris about his possible support.

He said: “Clarity as to his future intentions in respect of long-standing Waterford deficits would in my opinion be a prerequisite to my offering fulsome support.”

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