Tuesday 18 June 2019

'I'm certainly not ruling it out' - Taoiseach opens door to general election in coming months

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks to the media at the European election count in the RDS Simmonscourt.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks to the media at the European election count in the RDS Simmonscourt.

Ryan Nugent and Kevin Doyle

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has opened the door to a general election in the coming months saying, "I'm certainly not ruling it out".

Mr Varadkar said he won't be dissolving the Dáil in the coming days or weeks but indicated it may happen before this year's budget.

With the Dail summer recess due to kick in, that raised the possibility of a general election at the end of June.

Asked whether he would go to the country rather than hold a number of Dáil by-election, The Fine Gael leader told RTE "I can't rule it out" and that a number of factors were at play that could lead to an election, including the political landscape in the UK and the possibility of opposition pulling the plug on the government here.

"If I'm the one to seek a dissolution I have to bear in mind other factors not just the result of these elections but also what's going on across the water in relation to Brexit and the need to have a stable government," he said.

"Brexit is going to go on for a long time I believe, UK politics is going to be consumed by it.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar answers questions from the media at the local election count at City West.
Photo: Tony Gavin 25/5/2019
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar answers questions from the media at the local election count at City West. Photo: Tony Gavin 25/5/2019

"Also take into account other factors like getting through a budget in September/October and by-elections possibly happening in that period as well.

"So not ruling it out but, as I say, not a prospect in the next couple of days or weeks anyway," he added.

With more than half of the 949 seats filled in the local elections, Fianna Fail  is on course to remain the biggest party at local government level in Ireland.

Fine Gael is hopeful of gains, but the biggest surge is being enjoyed by the Green Party.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein is suffering significant losses

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