Leo's criticisms were 'cheap, complete nonsense and have gone down very badly', FF claim

Fianna Fail Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath. Picture: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Stinging criticisms of Fianna Fáil by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at his party's conference were “cheap, complete nonsense and have gone down very badly.”

Michael McGrath, the Fianna Fail's finance spokesman hit back at Mr Varadkar saying they were ill-judged and lacked the appropriate respect, given their support allowed the Taoiseach to remain in office.

Defending his attacks on the main opposition party, Mr Varadkar said he believed the Confidence and Supply deal had worked to some extent, he would much prefer to lead a majority government in order to get things done.

He said Fianna Fáil are not averse to delivering personalised attacks on his ministers, be it Eoghan Murphy's affluent background or Simon Harris' age.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael are adamant they can stave off a General Election for another year despite rumours that we will be going to the polls before the Autumn.

There was a buoyant mood at the party's annual conference in Wexford over the weekend where senior Fine Gael members and Government ministers ruled out an election until next summer.

The possibility of a coalition with Sinn Féin was also strongly rebuffed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar when he addressed the conference.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy dismissed any reversal of the confidence and supply deal which would see Fine Gael support Fianna Fáil after the next General Election.

"There is no general election on the horizon, we have the uncertainty around Brexit which we continue to face, we also have the belief and the desire of an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to not have an election at least before the summer of 2020," he said.

He described Sinn Féin as "undemocratic" and said his party "couldn't work with that".

This was echoed by Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said she would never go into Government with Sinn Féin.

"There are some very fine politicians in Sinn Féin as there are in every single party and that's why collectively get on so well in Oireachtas Committees and actually can do some real substantive work together.

"Would I personally ever go into Government with Sinn Féin? Not on your nelly.

"We have a very stable Government for the last number of years I think people wouldn't have expected it to lasted or have achieved as much."

She said Fine Gael have had a "very strong relationship" with Fianna Fáil but added that she "doesn't get to make the decision" as to whether her party would enter Government with them.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe moved to rule out a General Election this year by insisting he will get another Budget passed.

"The good news is I am already working on Budget 2020 because I have to bring a stability programme update to Government in the next few weeks which will be laying out how we think the economy is going to perform next year and I believe I will be presenting Budget 2020 to the House in October and I think there is every chance we will get it passed," he said.

Despite ongoing rumours of a snap election anytime between May and the Autumn Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said even if Brexit is resolved in the coming weeks the consequences are so significant that a stable Government is required.

"I am fully focused on doing the business in the context of the biggest indigenous industry and not at all on when that election might be.

"Whenever it happens we will be ready for it," said Mr Creed.

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