Leo Varadkar rules out coalition with 'same old Fianna Fail'
HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar ruled out any question of a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail Government despite opinion polls indicating Ireland might otherwise be heading for a hung Dail.
The Dublin TD insisted that the Government parties "still have everything to play for" before the February 26 General Election as he dismissed the implications of the latest set of opinion polls.
He bluntly insisted a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail coalition was not going to happen.
"It is not on the cards. It is not on the cards for two reasons - first of all because Fianna Fail needs to spend more time in Opposition."
"I don't think they can yet be forgiven for the economic disaster that they inflicted on this country."
"It is also the same old Fianna Fail. It is the same people at the top of Fianna Fail - Michael Martin and Mary Hanafin trying to come back."
"Some of the former ministers in my constituency were back out on the campaign trail today."
"I don't think it can be considered that there will be any form of Coalition with them after this election."
Mr Varadkar stressed that too much should not be read into opinion polls with three weeks of campaigning still to go.
He said Fine Gael and Labour were fighting hard to defend every seat - and the election has yet to take definitive shape.
"I think the opinion polls indicate that it is all to play for. The potential Government of Fine Gael and Labour is around 40pc (support) and the potential alternative of Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein is around 40pc."
"That is why I am in Cork tonight because the seat we are defending here, Jerry Buttimer's seat, is crucial. Every single seat is crucial."
"The election is all to play for and people read to much into opinion polls. The only thing that is absolutely certain is that there will be another opinion poll in three days time."
Mr Varadkar also warned against people predicting that Ireland could now be facing into a hung Dail and the prospect of another election within 12 to 18 months.
"I don't think they (polls) should be over-analysed. The public have not voted yet and that is what the election campaign is about."