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Michael Martin TD and RTÉ's The Week in Politics. Twitter/RTETwip
confidence and supply

Michéal Martin: 'I don't think people want elections'

The Fianna Fáil leader said he wants another budget to be passed by the government.

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has said that his party is “fully determined” to avoid an election until at least the end of this year and perhaps early next year.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Martin said that he wants to honour the confidence and supply agreement which was signed in 2016 and committed his party to facilitating three Fine Gael budgets.

The third such budget is due later this year and Martin said ensuring its passage through the Dáil would also include finance and social welfare bills. These could be before the Dáil a couple of months after the budget in early 2019.

Martin would not specifically say when he feels the agreement ends, but insisted that he wanted it seen out to the end.

“We’ve honoured the agreement up to now and are fully determined that we continue to honour the agreement,” he said.

Three budgets and then a review at the end of 2018, that’s what’s specifically written into the confidence and supply agreement and people should read that. Obviously when we say we want a budget passed, that does mean a finance act and that does mean a social welfare bill. Because you have to give effect to the measures in the budget.

Martin also said that the upcoming budget must be ‘a housing budget and a health budget’.

“Last October during the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, the Taoiseach said we have a plan and it’s working. Now two weeks ago he said he’s frustrated about the fact that the plan is not working and he’s now declared it to be an emergency.”

If that’s the case the next budget has to be a housing budget and it has to be a health budget and we have to honestly deal with those two challenges above everything else.

“Capital budgets have to be increased in terms of building more local authority housing, and at least achieving the targets the government itself has set, we would have had more ambitious targets.”

(Click here if video doesn’t play)


Regardless of the contents of the next budget, Martin said that the next election would not be won or lost on what it contained.

“I don’t buy the line that budgets win elections, and they’re not fazed by that at all. So I think people wanted someone to step up to the plate and Fianna Fáil did step up to the plate after the last general election to ensure the formation of a government, that’s important in our democracy.”

“I don’t think people want elections, I remember as a young student in ’81 and ’82 and I resolved after that, never again would Ireland go through such a period of instability,” Martin added.

Speaking on the same programme, Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy said that he “doesn’t see any reason” why the confidence and supply agreement can’t be extended into 2019.

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