Friday 24 January 2020

Taoiseach and Micheál Martin discuss further Dáil session in 'constructive' meeting on general election date

Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin
Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin discussed Dáil numbers and legislation which could be passed in parliament at their first meeting on the general election date.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said they had a “constructive meeting” and agreed to meeting again next week.

“They discussed Dáil numbers and possible legislative proposals which could be passed in a further Dáil session,” he said. “They agreed to consider matters further and to meet again next week,” it added.

The meeting between the two politicians and their advisers last around one hour.

The meeting came after months of speculation about the election date as the confidence and supply agreement came to an end after agreement was reached between the UK and the EU on Brexit

Before Christmas, Mr Martin wrote to Mr Varadkar seeking certainty on the general election date, which he believes should be held in April, and setting out his legislative priorities for the next Dáil term.

The Taoiseach responded by insisting he needed Mr Martin to assure him he would support the Government in crucial votes if necessary due the precarious nature of Dáil numbers.

He also set out his own legislative agenda which included seeking agreement with Fianna Fáil on property tax reforms, climate change legislation and a new rural action plan.

However, the Taoiseach softened his stance on needing Fianna Fáil’s support in Dáil votes.

“It is the case that with Fianna Fáil continuing to abstain that the Government can continue and that we have, I believe, sufficient votes to get our legislative programme through but obviously the numbers are also very precarious,” he said.

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