An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in the United States this week as part of his final trade mission as the leader of the Government. Mr Kenny, who has led the country since 2011, is expected to step down next week when Leo Varadkar's elevation to the position will be voted on in the Dáil. As part of his trip to the US Kenny met with the executive management of Baxter Healthcare in its headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.
The US company is one of the major employers in the county and Mr Kenny was provided with a comprehensive overview of the company, which restated its commitment to Ireland and Castlebar. They also informed the Taoiseach that the company has recently moved 100 jobs to its facility in Castlebar from Poland and Turkey. These positions have now been filled at the Castlebar plant.
Mr Kenny said: “It was very welcome news that Baxter continue their longstanding commitment to Castlebar and it is important to highlight the positive developments happening at the plant. Oftentimes, the good news stories from Baxter are not highlighted enough and the future plans for the company include an ongoing commitment to Ireland and Mayo."
When Mr Kenny is replaced as Taoiseach by Varadkar next week, attention in the county will focus on who he will fill his cabinet with. There is speculation that current Minister of State for Regional and Economic Development, Michael Ring, could be promoted to a full cabinet position by the incoming Taoiseach. Minister Ring was a very vocal supporter of Varadkar in the contest for the Fine Gael leadership against Minister Simon Coveney, that was won by Varadkar who took 60 per cent of the weighted ballot last week. Minister Ring previously worked in the same government department as Varadkar when he was the junior minister with responsibility for tourism and sport. Mr Ring also was one of the speakers when Varadkar launched his bid to become Fine Gael leader two weeks ago.
The way was cleared for the new Fine Gael leader to become Taoiseach after Fianna Fáil confirmed it would abstain from a vote on a new Taoiseach, as they had when Kenny was elected Taoiseach of a minority government last year.