Saturday 23 March 2019

Varadkar questions FF support with 'sting in the tail' swipe on polls


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Frank McGrath
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has taken a swipe at Fianna Fáil as the rival party begins its Ard Fheis today.

In remarks that are likely to anger Micheál Martin's party Mr Varadkar recognised them for facilitating the Fine Gael-led minority Government, but questioned if it would have done so if Fianna Fáil had been ahead in the polls.

Mr Varadkar said the role Fianna Fáil plays in providing stability is in contrast to "division and chaos" in Westminster. But he added: "Is there a sting in the tail? I wonder, if Fianna Fáil was 5pc-10pc ahead in the polls for the last year, would it be so willing to facilitate us? Time will tell."

Mr Varadkar was speaking at Fine Gael's Midlands/North-West selection convention for the European Elections.

Sitting MEP Mairead McGuinness and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh were nominated to be the party's candidates.

He also poured cold water on the prospect of Britain getting a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States if the open Border in Ireland is not maintained.

Mr Varadkar said he doesn't believe the US Congress will agree to any trade deal with the UK "that would undermine the Good Friday Agreement and the open Border between North and south".

He also insisted that MEPs won't pass any Withdrawal Agreement that doesn't protect Ireland.

He said: "Westminster might be the mother of all parliaments but it's not the boss of other parliaments and I know the European Parliament will not vote for a withdrawal agreement that does not do right by Ireland."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section