Sunday 26 January 2020

Government chief whip believes 'strong chance' we'll have a general election at the start of February

Minister of State Seán Kyne
Minister of State Seán Kyne
John Downing

John Downing

Government chief whip, Seán Kyne, has said there is now a “strong chance” that the expected general election will happen at the beginning of next month.

Mr Kyne, who as government “Dáil enforcer” is responsible for mustering votes to keep them in power, said it had become very difficult for the Coalition to continue operating.

He stressed that it was the Taoiseach’s role to fix the general election date – but he went on to give his own view in an interview in Irish on Raidió na Gaeltachta.

The Galway West TD said the retirement of Dara Murphy before Christmas, the loss of Frances Fitzgerald’s Dublin Mid-West seat in late November, and the declaration by Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness that he would vote against the Government in any no-confidence motion, had all changed things.

“It’s very difficult to continue operating,” Mr Kyne told presenter, Máirín Ní Ghadhra on the programme, “An tSeachtain.”

The Government chief said there was “a strong chance” the election would be called in advance of an expected motion of confidence in Health Minister Simon Coveney due on February 5.

He said Finance Minister and national director of elections, Paschal Donohoe, warned TDs and senators meeting last Friday that the election could be called “in days, in weeks, or in months.”

“I think there is a very good chance that we will have an election at the start of February. That’s my view, and we’re ... I believe that all parties are now preparing for an election,” Mr Kyne said.

The chief whip was speaking before the Taoiseach did an RTÉ radio interview on the “This Week” programme.

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