No campaign to make Paschal Donohoe next head of IMF, Varadkar says

Minister for Public Expenditure’s ‘intention is to run again for the Dáil’, Taoiseach says amid reports of interest in International Monetary Fund job

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted there is no campaign under way for Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe to take over as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that Mr Donohoe is considering a bid to lead the IMF, citing people familiar with the matter who said he is holding “preliminary conversations over the matter”.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Varadkar said that there was no vacancy for the post and no indication from the incumbent, Kristalina Georgieva, as to whether she would seek another term.

“There is no campaign, and there can’t be at this stage,” he said.


The Taoiseach said he had spoken to Mr Donohoe on Saturday night and that the Bloomberg story “came up in the conversation”. He said the Minister said he did not know where the story was coming from.

“This issue doesn’t arise at the moment, but what Paschal says to me is that his intention is to run again for the Dáil in Dublin Central and to stay on as president of the Eurogroup.”

Pressed on whether Mr Donohoe had specifically ruled out an interest in the role, Mr Varadkar said if a vacancy arose that would be the only point at which “anything comes into consideration”. The Fine Gael leader said he did not ask Mr Donohoe whether he had an interest in the role.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach said the Government had the numbers to win a vote of confidence in Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. The motion was put down by Sinn Féin following the stabbing of children and their carer late last month in Dublin city centre, which was followed by riots and looting. The Garda said the disturbances were spurred on by the far-right.

Describing the motion, which will be put down on Tuesday, as a “stunt”, Mr Varadkar said it could “only fail, it could only ever possibly fail, and I don’t think it’s what the public want”.

He said Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan would have no choice but to return from Dubai, where he was attending the Cop28 conference, for the vote given it was a confidence matter.

Asked about gardaí being unsure when to use force, he said the best person to advise on that was Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and his leadership team.

“The law provides for the gardaí to use force in certain circumstances and the gardaí are trained when to do so and when not to.”

The head of the Policing Authority, Bob Collins, on Sunday said he and his colleagues were “surprised” to hear that members of An Garda Siochana were reluctant to use force when required. He also denied that Minister for Justice Helen McEntee had asked the authority to provide clarity to Garda members on the issue, despite her public comments.

After the riots, Ms McEntee said she would contact the authority and formally ask it to provide clarity on the issue for gardaí going forward. However, Mr Collins told RTÉ Radio 1′s This Week programme that no such request had been made.

“The formal request that came to us from the Minister did not include that,” he said in relation to providing guidance or clarity around the use of force.

The Minister’s letter, published on Sunday evening, asks that the authority give advice “as to what else might enhance policing performance and support the gardaí in the exercise of their lawful powers in situations such as arose last Thursday”, including questions as to whether additional equipment, ICT, vehicles or training are needed, and if any changes to policies, procedures or indeed the law are required.

Mr Collins later appeard to concede that part of the request to the authority from Ms McEntee “specifically” related to how gardaí might be better trained, and know the law, around use of force.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times