Bertie Ahern doesn't think there will be another election this year

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says he expects another general election in 2017, if Fine Gael forms a coalition based on independents and smaller parties.

Bertie Ahern doesn't think there will be another election this year

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says he expects another general election in 2017, if Fine Gael forms a coalition based on independents and smaller parties.

Mr Ahern, who led a number of negotiations on the formation of Governments, says a deal between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will be the last thing on either party's list of options.

However, he says it was considered in 1989 before Fianna Fáil decided to go with the Progressive Democrats.

Mr Ahern says it is unlikely Ireland will see another election this year, but a vote is probable next year.

He said: "What we did in 1989 was we went through all the options, should it be Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael. You could go through the list and maybe a combination would work or maybe you'd go through the list and then you'll have to go to the back of the page.

"And then parties will have to decide if they are prepared to take the risk of just doing a short-term arrangement that lasts to probably until somewhere next year.

"You are talking about a 2017 election."

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