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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 18 September, 2019

Micheál Martin rules out election this year and says 'national interest' must come first

Martin said the country will most likely go to the polls in early spring next year.

Image: Garreth MacNamee

FIANNA FAIL LEADER Micheál Martin has ruled out an election this side of the calendar year so Brexit can be prioritised. 

Speaking at the start of his party’s annual think-in in Gorey, Wexford, Martin said that he was “putting the national interest first” and indicated that he won’t seek to collapse the government. 

Martin said that the country will most likely go to the polls in the early spring next year.

“The national interest comes first. Fianna Fail will not precipitate a general election,” Martin said. 

While he conceded that the potential of a no-deal Brexit creeps closer to a reality, he said it is the hope of Fianna Fáil that the domestic turmoil in which Boris Johnson and his stalled Tory government currently finds itself may ultimately lead to a deal being done at the last minute.

Martin added: “One hopeful situation is that Boris Johnson is in a tight corner and he wants to leave at the end of October.”

Fianna Fáil’s think-in ahead of the new Dáil schedule is expected to last until tomorrow afternoon. 

While the party has decided not to pull the plug on the current Government, it said there were many aspects of Varadkar’s Government that has left Fianna Fáil with considerable concerns. 

Martin said that the housing and homeless crises, along with the overspends in health as well as the national broadband plan are serious causes of concern for the opposition party. 

The Fianna Fáil leader also attacked what he called “the dark arts” at play within the health system’s books.

But despite the party’s gripes, they will remain the course and continue to prop up Fine Gael.

Martin also called on the Government to come clean on no-deal planning. Leo Varadkar last week accepted that some checks may have to take place close to the border in the case of the UK leaving the EU without any sort of deal. He said that he “didn’t think the government was telling the truth last year when they said there would definitely be no checks after Brexit”.

Despite propping the current Government up, Martin was not afraid to have a pop at those he and his party continue to support. Commenting on a recent Fine Gael video which attacked Fianna Fáil’s policies, Martin said that he may well take the barb as a compliment. 

He added: “The defining characteristic of this Government is spin rather rather than substance of what they should be about, which is giving people the detail around a no-deal Brexit, telling us the truth about what will happen at the border and how the talks at the EU Commission are going.

“It’s silly stuff and I’m not too exercised by it; when people start attacking you sometimes it can be a compliment.” 

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