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Varadkar: If we hold election on 14 Feb, it could be 'Valentine's massacre' for FG opponents

Leo Varadkar said that as things stand the Dáil will reconvene next Wednesday as scheduled.

The Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting are meeting in Dublin today.
The Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting are meeting in Dublin today.
Image: Sam Boal

IF AN ELECTION were to be held on 14 February, the Taoiseach said it could be the love of the people Fine Gael feel on the day, “and hopefully a Valentine’s massacre for our opponents”. 

Speaking to reporters ahead of a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting in Dublin today, Leo Varadkar said that as things stand the Dáil will reconvene next Wednesday as scheduled. 

When asked if a 14 February election might be on the cards, Varadkar referenced the possibility of a Valentine’s Day massacre for opposition parties. 

The Valentine’s Day massacre happened in Chicago on 14 February 1929, when seven men associated with the Irish gangster George “Bugs” Moran, one of Al Capone’s longtime enemies, were shot dead by several men dressed as policemen.

After making the joke, the Taoiseach added:

“I have consistently said that when the time is right for an election it should be at the right time for the country, not necessarily the right time for any political party or any particular politician, and when you are in politics you always have to be prepared for an election, but at the same time you can always be better prepared for an election, but that is not what matters, what matters is that it is the right time for the country.”

Varadkar added that is has always been his preference to hold an election during the summer, when “the sun is shining”. However, he said it is only his personal preference. 

“What really matters is when is the right time for the country,” he said. 

Speculation has been mounting in recent days that a February election could be on the cards. 

The Taoiseach met with Micheál Martin last night to discuss the next general election and the precarious Dáil numbers.

The two leaders met for an hour before releasing an identical statement saying the talks had been “constructive” and stating that the pair would meet again next week. 

He said he agreed that last night’s meeting with Martin would remain confidential, adding that he would honour that agreement, refusing to drawn on the specifics of the talks. 

Varadkar said yesterday that whether the government has the numbers to get legislation through is not just a matter for Fianna Fáil, stating that he also must talk to other parties and independent TDs. 

Today, he said he hasn’t had discussions with other independents or other parties but hopes that over the weekend he will be able to consult with members of the Independent Alliance and and independent ministers in Cabinet. 

He said there is no formal agreement is relation to how independent TDs vote, and he does not see that changing. 

There are concerns in relation to the arithmetic in the Dáil, particularly due to Health Minister Simon Harris facing a motion of no confidence when or if the Dáil returns. 

The motion is being put down by rural TDs, however, the Taosieach said today that he believes the government does have the numbers to defeat it. 

He said that motions in the past have been largely defeated and are put down so opposition members “can get some air time”. 

“That is the game and they are playing it, but lets not take it too seriously,” he said. 

When asked if members of his own party might think he is being over cautious by perhaps returning to Leinster House for a few more weeks, he said:

“I think when people rush into decisions they might get the accolade of being decisive but they actually make the wrong decisions and before I make a decision I always consider all the options and all the facts and take advice.”

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