Former Fianna Fáil Minister Pat Carey has warned politicians would get an angry reception on the doorsteps if another election is called.
That prospect is growing more likely by the day after talks between the two main parties ended with little or no progress on the issue of water charges last night.
“Everybody would be savaged, to be quite honest with you,” said Mr Carey.
“To think that issues like homelessness, the shootings in Dublin last night, the Higgins report … you could list about 20 items that people would slice candidates through and through on the doorsteps on.”
The latest compromise offer from Fine Gael to suspend water charges for six to nine months has not satisfied Fianna Fáil, who want to halt charges for five years.
On his way into the Cabinet meeting this morning, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said there is a chance the country will have another election.
“We may not be able to settle this one,” he said. “I think everybody knows the consequences of that”.
Acting Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin urged the parties to make a decision soon.
“We need now to bring this matter to a conclusion or, if that’s not possible, then ask the people to elect into the Dáil deputies who are willing to take on the responsibility of Government,” he said.
Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly questioned if any deal would see those who have paid water charges receiving refunds.
“If, supposedly, Irish Water charges were suspended – what are you going to do with the just-under-a-million people who have paid their bills? Will they get repaid, will they get their money back? You can’t make fools of people,” he said.