Varadkar thinks he will be opposition leader of next government

Varadkar thinks he will be opposition leader of next government

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he thinks he'll be the leader of the opposition when the next government is formed.

The Fine Gael leader says he will talk to other parties, if his numbers are needed to provide a stable government.

The Taoiseach says he has no idea what the most likely outcome is of the talks that begin today.

But Mr Varadkar has accepted he's unlikely to still be the Taoiseach when they conclude.

He said “anything is possible” in the coming weeks, “including a second election”.

However, Mr Varadkar said a second general election was not an outcome he thinks would be “good for the country”.

Speaking this morning ahead of the European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle, Mr Varadkar said Sinn Féin had emerged as the largest party and so “responsibility now falls on them to build a coalition”.

Mr Varadkar said the likelihood is that he will be the leader of the opposition and that he hasn’t been involved in “any talks” about a Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green coalition.

“Sinn Féin have emerged as largest party, at least in terms of votes.

"It is their responsibility now to try and keep those remarkable promises they made to the Irish people, which got them so many votes, and that means the onus is on them now to form a government, either with left-wing parties or with Fianna Fáil and to get Dáil approval for a republican socialist programme for Government,” he said.

“If they fail, then obviously we’ll consider matters then. That’s where things stand now.”

The Taoiseach suggested that Sinn Féin has created “a fake history”.

“In terms of what may happen later on in this process, in the next couple of weeks, Fine Gael, my party, is the party of the founding of the State...There’s another party that was founded in 1971 called Sinn Féin which has a fake history that says otherwise, but we’re the ones who founded the State, we’re the ones who established institutions, we’re the ones who made this country a Republic,” he said.

“We will stand by the State and the Republic and if we’re needed in order to give the country political stability with governance, well then we’re willing to talk to other parties about that,” Mr Varadkar told reporters in Dublin.

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