Ireland’s Brexit unity wobbles as calls for general election grow

Ireland’s Brexit unity wobbles as calls for general election grow

The recent European Elections resulted in the Ireland South spots being given to Wexford-based Independent TD Mick Wallace and Cork-based Fianna Fail Minister Billy Kelleher. This means there will be by-elections in Cork and Wexford, with some commentators believing a full-scale general election could be called instead. But deputy Simon Coveney, who is also foreign secretary, said a general election will not happen because he believed opposition party Fianna Fail is committed to not bringing down the Fine Gael minority government this year as part of its Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Mr Coveney said: “That will be a call for the Taoiseach (Leo Varadkar) - and, to be fair, a call for the Opposition leader as well, Micheal Martin.

“We have a Confidence and Supply Agreement with Fianna Fail and it is working well.

“It is providing stability in Ireland when we need it, particularly in the context of Brexit.

“Those decisions will be made in the autumn. But I can tell you the Government has no plans for an early election.”

The Confidence and Supply Agreement allows Fine Gael to call a general election in 2020.

This can happen if both parties agree that any ongoing Brexit issues need to be resolved.

But Mr Coveney added the date of the next general election will be decided by Mr Varadkar.

He said: “That is above my pay grade, I’m afraid.

“I looked for that job and didn’t get it.”

He also refused to comment on what the impact of the results of the by-elections could mean for the government.

Mr Coveney said: “Like I said, we have no plan for a general election any time soon.”

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