Varadkar feeling the heat as 'defeatist' comments startel Fine Gael TDs

Varadkar feeling the heat as 'defeatist' comments startel Fine Gael TDs

Varadkar feeling the heat as 'defeatist' comments startel Fine Gael TDs

As picturesque Garryvoe basked in glorious sunshine, Leo Varadkar was certainly feeling the heat.

Following his surprising admission on radio early yesterday morning that he would be willing to back a Fianna Fáil-led Government after the next election, the end of the think-in press conference was always going to be dominated by the election.

The sound of TDs choking on their cornflakes could be heard for miles around.

Some felt such talk was defeatist and counterproductive.

Later in the day, Varadkar said he was just being honest: “Sure it's kind of obvious, that that would be the case."

But at the presser, Varadkar was more sure of his lines.

He made sure to say he wants to remain being Taoiseach, wants Fine Gael to be the biggest party and says his party can pick up seats across the country.

“What I said is 'I would be willing to consider it'. First of all, let there be no doubt about this. It is my intention and my plan and my expectation that Fine Gael will win the next election when it comes in May 2020. We will be the largest party and as the largest party we will do what the largest party always does, which is seek to form a government. Ideally a coalition government with a majority,” he said.

When asked where, Leo couldn't resist a dig at Business Minister, Heather Humphreys, who got more than 30% of the vote, normally enough for two seats, but failed to bring in a running mate. Poor Heather looked rather uncomfortable at that minute.

He said the party could pick up seats in Cork South Central, Cork East, Kerry and Tipperary.

No mention of Dun Laoghaire though.

He also clarified that he would only consider a deal with Fianna Fáil if Micheál Martin's party wins the most seats.

“We certainly would not entertain a situation whereby we were the largest party in the Dáil and we were then somehow asked to facilitate the second and fourth and fifth party forming a government,” he emphasised.

He also made clear he is not keen on another minority government:

“While confidence-and-supply has worked reasonably well for just over three years now, a majority government would be better for the country and that’s what I want us to be in a position to do."

Despite kicking Fianna Fáil pretty hard in recent days, he said he would consider a grand-coalition with the old enemy should the numbers fall that way.

“I would. I am certainly not ruling out any future arrangement with Fianna Fail. Either confidence and supply or coalition,” he made clear.

Asked about the housing crisis, and whether it would be sorted by the election next May, Varadkar was coy: “I don't think that I’ll be able to say that the housing crisis is solved. But I am confident that when we get to May, people will see that we're making real progress."

Strange then that just the day before, Eoghan Murphy was prepared to say the crisis will be solved by then. Maybe he didn't get the memo.

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