'I have no interest in a snap election' - Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted he is “not interested” in calling a snap election, yet three of his ministers have said a September election is likely.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the ministers have made it clear that should Fine Gael poll numbers remain above 30%, as they are at present, then the Taoiseach must consider calling an early election.

“September is what the feeling is at present,” said one minister. “Fine Gael on current numbers could pick up at least another ten or twelve seats based on the numbers,” the minister said.

Another minister made it clear that Cabinet ministers will be expected to bring home a running mate in their constituencies with the numbers the way they are.

Mr Varadkar, his Tanaiste Simon Coveney and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are just some of the ministers who are single Fine Gael TD in their home bases.

With the party polling at 36%, the same level it got in the 2011 General Election, pressure will be on them to bring in a second seat for the party.

Mr Varadkar is likely to be joined on the ticket in Dublin West by Cllr Eimear Curry, while Senate leader Jerry Buttimer is seeking to retake a seat in Cork South Central.

Mr Donohoe won his seat against the odds in Dublin Central in 2016, but it has been increased to a four-seater.

But speaking today Mr Varadkar said a snap election is not on his mind at the moment.

I have no interest in a snap election. My focus is securing jobs in the economy, negotiating Brexit, building more houses and dealing with some of the issues in healthcare, he said.

However, he did have a warning for the two main opposition parties saying they could easily force an election.

“But if Fianna Fail wants to cause an election by refusing to renew the Confidence and Supply arrangement or if Sinn Fein wants to cause it through a motion of no confidence then they will be the cause of it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Waterford Minister of State John Halligan warned any Opposition politicians who are considering bringing or supporting a no confidence motion ahead of the Dáil summer recess that they will be flagrantly disrespecting the will of the people by jeopardising the passage of upcoming abortion legislation.

He said: “Despite the resounding Yes vote in the referendum on 25th May, an average of nine women will continue to travel abroad for an abortion every day until new legislation passes through the Dáil and Seanad and is signed into law by the President. This is going to take several months, there is no avoiding the legislative process.

“But in order for the legislation to pass without delay, the confidence-and-supply deal must be adhered to and any TD who is considering bringing or supporting a no confidence motion at this point is threatening to disrupt this.I am calling on politicians of all political parties and none to bear that in mind as they make threats or mutterings about no confidence motions,” he said.

- Digital Desk

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