Taoiseach reveals he intends to speak to Micheal Martin soon on extending life of government

By Daniel McConnell and Elaine Loughlin

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he intends speaking to Micheal Martin shortly in a bid to extending the life of the Government.

Speaking in New York following several days of exchanging blows with Mr Martin over when a General Election will happen, the Taoiseach has given his strongest indication to date that talks will begin sooner rather than later.

Fianna Fail has been resisting calls to get into talks early saying it will only consider it in the wake of October's budget.

Yet, Mr Varadkar said he will reach out to Mr Martin in the coming weeks.

Addressing reporters at the New York Stock Exchange, he said: “We are in contact quite regularly, our advisors speak every week. We speak every month either on the phone or on the margins of Dail exchanges.”

“My view is that we need political stability, particularly as we head into brexit negotiations, brexit happening for real, and I would like to see the Confidence and Supply arrangement extended.

"You know, I will talk to Micheal Martin in the coming weeks, but I think it is important I speak to him first and not through the media,” he said.

He would not say if this meant before the Dail rising later this month.

Meanwhile, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has claimed Fianna Fáil are responsible for recent General Election rumours and not Fine Gael.

Speaking after hosting the third Housing Summit this afternoon, Mr Murphy said: "All I hear is talk from Micheál Martin talking about my boss talking about an election and I think you can see exactly what that is.

"Let's step back a couple of weeks and Sinn Féin were talking about a motion of no-confidence in me, they were talking about doing that for months but it wasn't until Fianna Fáil refused to rule that out that election speculation all of a sudden went up a notch.

"This did not come from Fine Gael, this clearly came from Fianna Fáil, we are trying to be responsible."

Speculation that the Taoiseach could call an election as early as September has mounted after he suggested an early renegotiation of the deal with Fianna Fáil.

It had been agreed that the confidence and supply agreement would be reviewed at the end of this year, however, Mr Varadkar now wants to push this forward to before October's election

On the confidence and supply agreement, Mr Murphy said: "I don't think it's responsible to put any Government minister or the Government in a position where they are waking up the morning after the Budget and not having that certainty around the future to drive success.

"We are not interested in an election we are interested in certainty and stability."

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