Belfast Telegraph

Irish PM urged ‘not to bring down government during critical period on Brexit’

Micheal Martin has written to Leo Varadkar suggesting they commit to maintaining the government in its current form until a deal has been ratified.

The leader of the main opposition party in Ireland has called on the country’s premier not to collapse the Irish government until Brexit issues have been resolved.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin wrote to Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar on Friday suggesting that they both commit to maintaining the government in its current form until a deal has been ratified.

Mr Martin wrote: “In light of recent developments and as we head into this critical period on Brexit I think it best if we both state upfront, irrespective of what happens during the supply review process, that we both agree not to bring down the government.”

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Laura Hutton/PA)

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael entered into a confidence and supply agreement in May 2016 which enabled the formation of the current minority, Fine Gael-led government.

The agreement is now up for review.

He said both parties should continue to pass the Finance Bill and other legislation at least until a deal was reached between the UK and the EU on Brexit and it had been ratified by Westminster and Strasbourg.

Mr Martin said an election during this critical time would create a “dangerous instability during a period when the Brexit deal could be derailed by the constantly changing situation in Westminster”.

A Fianna Fail spokesman said the two leaders had been in contact on Friday morning and had both agreed to meet next week.

If Mr Varadkar agrees to the Fianna Fail leader’s proposal, it would mean a general election would be unlikely before Christmas.

EU leaders are due to meet to discuss the Brexit negotiations at a crunch EU Council summit in Brussels next week.

The Irish Government was called into question this week following the shock resignation of communications minister Denis Naughten.

Mr Naughten resigned his Cabinet seat on Thursday amid controversy over multiple private dinners he had held with the head of the last remaining bidder for a multi-million euro State contract for the roll-out of high-speed broadband.

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