Wednesday 22 January 2020

Zappone wants certainty on election date - and will work with either FG or FF

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD at the Department of Children & Youth Affairs. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD at the Department of Children & Youth Affairs. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

INDEPENDENT Minister Katherine Zappone has called on the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to agree a date for next year's general election this week.

Ms Zappone, the Minister for Children, has also said she would be prepared to work with either of the two largest parties after that election.

She was speaking after Mr Martin called on Mr Varadkar to meet with him to and set a date for the next election before the Christmas break.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both agree that the general election should take place in April or May next year, but the confidence and supply parties trade blows over the weekend after Mr Martin's letter emerged in the 'Sunday Independent'.

Both parties also privately admit that the date could be taken out of their hands given the minority government's precarious numbers in the Dáil - and a possible no confidence motion in the government or a minister.

Speaking in Dublin on Monday, Ms Zappone signalled she wanted clarity before TDs break for for the festive holidays. "I think probably certainty would be better. I'm ready whenever they call it," she said about Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar meeting.

She also said she would work with either of the parties after the election in a bid to remain as an independent member of government.

"What I will say is that, number one, it has been an incredible privilege and opportunity to be a minister in government. Two, I hope to get reelected by my constituency, and it will be hard, and I will work hard in order to do that.

"And yes, I would be open to joining, to forming government and I, at this stage, I really can't say beyond that, with whom. But I will certainly be very interested in being part of the next government as an independent."

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