Taoiseach says he doesn't want an election this year

Taoiseach says he doesn't want an election this year

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that he doesn't want there to be a General Election this year.

The Fine Gael government is currently benefiting from a confidence and supply agreement with Fianna Fáil - an agreement that Micheál Martin says he doesn't want to leave until after Brexit.

Speaking on the Today with Sean O'Rourke show on RTÉ Radio he said it is his "intention not to have an election this year... but it may not be my call".

In a wide-ranging interview, the Taoiseach also said that:

  • He never considered sacking Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy
  • There may be flexibility with the Northern Ireland border backstop post-Brexit
  • The National Broadband Plan will be a "game-changer" for rural Ireland
  • He will respond to the report into the Maria Bailey 'swing-gate' controversy next week
  • Archbishop Diarmuid Martin advised him in the wake of the controversial 'sinning priest' comment
  • He is trying to "find the right format and wording" of an apology to the Cervical Check women

Mr Varadkar explained the now-infamous "sinning priest comments" by saying it was in the heat of the moment.

"The remarks were made following a heated exchange with Micheál Martin who had called me 'petty, idiotic and silly', I was looking for a metaphor for hypocrisy, that was not a good one.

"Ironically the next day I met the Archbishop and he advised me to use the metaphor of a doctor who advises people not to smoke and drink but does so themselves.

"Sometimes we pick the wrong words," he added, before defending himself by saying he was brought up as a Catholic and his sisters both had Catholic weddings.

- Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke

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