Fianna Fáil TDs rule out snap election during 'period of deep uncertainty'

Barry Cowen

Two senior Fianna Fáil TDs have ruled out any snap election until Brexit is over, saying it would be wrong to force a national vote while the "period of deep uncertainty" remains.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath and public expenditure spokesperson Barry Cowen rejected snap election talk as they separately hit out at Fine Gael political tricks that amount to opponents living in the "Republic of Narnia".

Despite admitting Brexit is the only issue stopping either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil from calling an election now, both TDs stuck to party leader Micheál Martin's commitment to not hold an election for now.

"The reality is we now have a rolling [Brexit] deadline, and the uncertainty has not been removed.

We are still very much in the period of deep uncertainty in our country, as to potential consequences.

"So the initial commitment remains in place, we are not going to hold a general election until we know where we stand with Brexit, and certainly as of now we do not know where we stand and we're not going to know for a number of months yet," said Mr McGrath.

"It's a rolling deadline, we have to provide stability and ensure we are not trust into a general election that could result in a political vacuum here in this country at a critical time, we're just not going to do that," he said.

Asked the same question, Mr Cowen added: "We stick by the commitment that was given by the leader and that is to stick to and move to the next budget."

Meanwhile, during the same media briefing, both TDs were asked for their response to revelations in the Sunday Business Post that Fine Gael has been asking members and officials to pose as unbiased members of the public and send in critical questions to Mr Martin when he is on radio shows.

The requests were confirmed after an internal Fine Gael WhatsApp group was leaked.

After Mr McGrath said "if there are any WhatsApp groups no one's told me".

Mr Cowen said he has no interest in Fine Gael "living in the Republic of Narnia".

He added scornfully: "WhatsApp? Come on, give us some credit."

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