Leo Varadkar: Fine Gael does not have to run judicial appointments by Fianna Fáil

Leo Varadkar: Fine Gael does not have to run judicial appointments by Fianna Fáil

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has offered an olive branch to Fianna Fáil, but he has also said his party has not broken the Government's confidence and supply agreement with Fianna Fáil.

It comes after the former Attorney General, Máire Whelan, was appointed to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Varadkar has said he is willing to put a new focus on matters like mental health in an offer to rebuild trust with the main opposition party.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have been at odds over the appointment of Máire Whelan as a judge, with threats that the Government could collapse.

Speaking in Brussels this afternoon he says that won't happen, and that the relationship can be repaired.

"I know one of the things, for example, Fianna Fáil has put a real focus on is the whole issue of mental health.

"Perhaps we can move on some of those detailed issues in the confidence and supply agreement and get back on track."

He said this past week has been hard for both parties, but insisted that they have a written agreement.

He said: "That written agreement does not require that we run appointments - either judicial appointments or public appointments by Fianna Fáil - nor could it.

"So I don't believe that there has been a breach of the confidence and supply agreement, I don't see any reason now why that agreement should fall.

"But I do believe that, over the next couple of weeks, it will be necessary for us to work closely as parties and have some confidence building moves or confidence building gestures.

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