Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is ready for a general election early in the new year. The opposition party last year agreed to support Fine Gael through another Budget given the threat of Brexit, however, Mr Martin has strongly indicated that he is eager to go to the polls shortly after this.
Members attending Fianna Fáil’s think-in in Gorey, Co Wexford today privately expressed confidence in where the party now stands and believe keeping the Government in power over another winter would only strengthen their position going into an early spring election.
Fianna Fáil sources said a three-month Brexit extension would still leave enough space to go to the polls early next year, while a six-month delay would also provide a window for an early spring ballot.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Martin said the national interest comes first, he said Fianna Fáil would not precipitate a general election and ruled out a ballot before Christmas.
However, when pressed on when he might force an election he said: “I’m not going to get into particular months, it could be an early spring.”
Mr Martin added: “The British government has voted against every other agreement other than an extension, what we’re anxious is that the Government have the space to focus in on this, obviously a no-deal Brexit will be very damaging to the Irish economy, our view is we wouldn’t facilitate a general election in that context and it’s our view that given there is a lot of uncertainty out there, we don’t believe there can be a general election this side of Christmas.
“But we would hope arising out of the next few weeks and a resolution of Brexit, and then we’ll look at the situation in early 2020,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.