Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted that Fine Gael is lagging behind in the polls but said the General Election is “all to play for”.
The Fine Gael leader made the comments as the latest opinion poll show that Sinn Fein has moved ahead of his party and is tied in first place with Fianna Fail.
According to the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll, Sinn Fein is sitting on 24%, up 3% on the previous survey last week.
The poll shows that Micheal Martin’s party is down two points to 24% while Fine Gael is down two points to 21%.
We're a bit behind, but everything is within the margin of error of 3%, so this election is all to play forLeo Varadkar
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Varadkar said: “It’s looking like a very tight election.
“We’re a bit behind, but everything is within the margin of error of 3%, so this election is all to play for.
“One thing that won’t happen, you won’t see a coalition involving my party and Sinn Fein. That’s just not going to happen.
“Sinn Fein, in our view, is soft on crime and also high on tax – proposals to tax business, pensions, incomes, wealth, property, you name it, to the tune of four billion euros and that would be enormously damaging for the Irish economy, for people’s jobs and incomes and livelihoods and businesses.
“That’s definitely not going to happen. So, the likelihood is actually going to be quite difficult to form a government over the next couple of months.”
Mr Varadkar said that there will difficulty over Brexit negotiations if there is trouble forming an Irish government.
“Negotiations will take place between the UK and the EU, but we’re very much plugged into the EU side. We’re part of the ‘Team 27’ and we have a lot of influence in that regard as the EU trade commissioner is an Irishman,” he added.
“I think there will be difficulty if we have trouble forming a government in Ireland.
“The reason why the election is happening now is I took the decision that now was the best time, that there was a window of opportunity to have an election here in Ireland.
“We’d have to have one anyway by spring of next year.
“I chose this as the window of opportunity to have an election and to have a new government in place by that crucial European Council meeting in March, so I know that is something the Irish public will reflect on when they go to the polls at the weekend, we need to have a stable government because that’s essential for our future in so many different ways.”