Citing Brexit, Micheal Martin rules out 2019 general election

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/

The Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has agreed to a one-year extension of the confidence and supply agreement between his party and Leo Vardakar’s Fine Gael, arguing that it is in Ireland’s “national interest”.

Mr Martin, speaking in the Dáil today, said that under normal circumstances, a general election would be called for. However, political chaos in the UK, and the likelihood of the UK crashing out of the EU, meant that caution should be taken.

“We’re in a time of heightened danger for Ireland as the risk of a no deal Brexit increases,” he said.

This decision comes after a number of meetings between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the past few weeks. Leo Vardakar, the Taoiseach, met with Martin on Tuesday night to discuss the future of the agreement.

It is not in the national interest to have an election next year, Mr Martin said. He also claimed that such an offer to the government is “unprecedented”.

(Photo: Brian O’Leary/

Both Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin will be in Brussels in the coming days, where the Taoiseach is expected to attend the European Council.

The current deal will come to a head once a number of votes to secure the passage of next year’s budget through the Oireachtas are complete. Fianna Fáil had agreed to prop up the administration through three budgets.

Mr Varadkar had asked Mr Martin to agree to hold the next general election in the summer of 2020.

Mr Martin then wrote to Mr Varadkar suggesting that both agree not to collapse the Government until at least March, when the European Parliament was expected to formally ratify the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

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