Simon Coveney says second general election on the cards if parties don't agree deal

A fresh general election cannot be ruled out if the proposed three-way coalition pact is rejected this week, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has warned.
Simon Coveney says second general election on the cards if parties don't agree deal
Simon Coveney

A fresh general election cannot be ruled out if the proposed three-way coalition pact is rejected this week, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has warned.

The Fine Gael deputy leader also confirmed the annual 7% greenhouse gas emissions reduction, as agreed in the pact, is unlikely to be reached every year.

Instead, Mr Coveney set out how long term carbon emission cuts in different sectors would lay the ground for that yearly 7% target to be met by 2030.

The remarks come as thousands of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green members vote by postal ballot this week ahead of a significant result on Friday. The Greens face the biggest challenge, with the potential minority coalition party needing some two thirds to pass the deal.

Mr Coveney addressed claims that there will be a “political crisis” if any of the parties do not ratify the deal on Friday.

Certainly there is going to be huge political uncertainty.

He told RTÉ there are also a number of independents TDs who he thought would support the three parties.

Nonetheless, proposed meetings with independents have been put on hold, after a number said there was no point meeting ahead of the coalition pact vote. Others are still awaiting contact from party negotiators.

However, when pressed about whether there could be a snap election if the deal falls, Mr Coveney said: “We can't rule out anything.”

He also confirmed he told Fine Gael at the weekend that the coalition annual 7% greenhouse gas emission target is not likely to be met every year.

“What's in this programme for government is clearly to set a trajectory to lay the foundations for that kind of change over the first five years, which will significantly increase the reduction of carbon from where it is today.

"But it is unlikely in my view in the first few years to reach the 7% but it will lay the foundation to make sure we will go beyond the 7% in the second five years so that we deliver what we committed to which is an average 7% over the next ten years.

That doesn't mean 7% every year. It sometimes means more, sometimes less.

It would take years to increase offshore wind, he said, to plant more forestry, to wet bogs and to have thousands of more electric vehicles on Irish roads.

Meanwhile, outgoing Climate Minister Richard Bruton said a policy statement about the use of fracked gas will be made by the next government, something he does not want to pre-empt.

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