Brexit has kept this Government in power, claim Social Democrats

The ongoing Brexit crisis is keeping a "very poor Government" in power and preventing it from being toppled by the housing, cervical check, broadband and public service card scandals.

Brexit has kept this Government in power, claim Social Democrats

The ongoing Brexit crisis is keeping a "very poor Government" in power and preventing it from being toppled by the housing, cervical check, broadband and public service card scandals.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy made the claim during her party's annual pre-Dáil think-in. She said there would be a "clamour" for an election now if Brexit was not happening.

Asked at the event at the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, Dublin, if she was in favour of a general election as soon as possible, Ms Murphy said the current Government should have fallen by now.

It has been suggested in recent days that a window could appear for a snap general election in November or December if either a Brexit deal materialises, or if a second referendum or general election takes place in Britain.

However, while noting the rumours, Ms Murphy said the reality is the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit crisis means nothing can be done for now.

"The litany of things I identified like the children's hospital, broadband, the public service card, CervicalCheck and a whole range of other things, in any other scenario one of those would have made the Government fall.

"So we can say Brexit has already had an impact in this country, even before it has happened. It's had an impact by virtue of the fact we have taken very poor Government."

"That was very evident if you were knocking on doors [during the local and European elections], there was a degree of discontent," Ms Murphy said, adding there would be a "clamour" for an election if Brexit was not happening.

Ms Murphy said the Government must use the extra time it is being given by the opposition to ensure the country and ordinary people are properly protected from any Brexit backlash.

Noting the timing of next month's budget just three weeks before the current October 31 Brexit deadline, she said "Government hanging out tax cuts as a bit of a carrot" must be very much off the table to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

Ms Murphy and fellow Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall said their party are hoping to triple or quadruple their seat numbers in the next general election, from two TDs to between six or eight.

Ms Shortall said "at this stage we're not ruling any party out" in terms of potential coalition talks after any general election as "from our point of view it's much more about what they stand for than whom".

Asked if the Social Democrats would consider joining forces with other left-leaning parties and TDs as part of a left-of-centre platform - a proposal suggested by Labour TD Sean Sherlock in May - Ms Shortall said the party will always talk with similarly-minded politicians.

However, she stressed: "From our point, it's very important to build the centre left. But there is no question of formal alliance."

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