Regina Doherty assures that crisis will not derail Brexit deal efforts

The current political crisis has erupted at a time when Ireland’s stance on Brexit - in particular, its call for Northern Ireland to adhere to an EU customs framework - is threatening to thwart the UK government’s desire to progress negotiations with Europe on to a future trade deal.

This morning, Employment and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty tried to assure the public that the Government would still be able to represent Ireland’s best interests in Brussels.

Regina Doherty

"Regardless of what happens on Tuesday you will still have a government and you will still have a department and team of people who will go to Europe in December, despite what the political establishment is going to force us into, and make sure we get the best deal that we can," she said.

"Because absolutely that trumps everything that we are talking about - not to be disrespectful to Maurice McCabe who absolutely deserves justice for the years he has been put through, the pain and torture he has been put through."

Ms Doherty told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics that the Taoiseach was trying to provide "confidence and comfort" to Fianna Fáil’s "misgivings".

Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary said his party was trying to hold the Government to account.

"We are trying to get answers - that’s what our job is," he said.

Cara Calleary

Mr Calleary added: "Confidence and supply is dependent on us having confidence in the Government.

"The Government must realise that in order to earn confidence we must trust them."

He also denied claims from critics that recent events were less about the specific issue and more about the Fianna Fáil base growing frustrated with propping up a government led by their arch-rivals.

Ms Doherty offered a scathing assessment of her rivals’ motivations.

"The reason we are here is because Sinn Féin called Fianna Fáil’s bluff, Fianna Fáil called our bluff and they thought we’d react differently," she said.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said the only way an election could be averted was for Ms Fitzgerald to stand down.

"The ball is in Leo Varadkar’s court," she said.

"He has to decide does he put his party and his colleague first or is he willing to accept the fact that confidence in Frances Fitzgerald has run out and for very good reasons."

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