Ireland's Varadkar Pushes to Avoid Election Amid Brexit Concern

  • Irish minister says ‘long way’ to no-confidence motion
  • Sunday Times says opposition deal to avoid election close

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will continue contacts with the leader of the opposition to avoid an election just as Brexit talks intensify.

Varadkar repeated over the weekend that he wouldn’t seek the resignation of his deputy, Frances Fitzgerald, after his political rivals demanded she step down over her handling of a whistle blower controversy. Fitzgerald faces a no-confidence vote on Tuesday which could pull down the minority government. In that case, an election would be held next month, he has said.

Leo Varadkar

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“It’s a long way until Tuesday,” said Regina Doherty, employment and social protection minister, in an interview with RTE television on Sunday in Dublin.

The Sunday Times reported that a deal between Varadkar and opposition leader Micheal Martin is close at hand. The affair comes at a delicate time for the government, as it moves toward a decision on the Brexit process. Avoiding a hard border in Ireland is one of three key issues requiring “sufficient progress” before the European Union will allow efforts to move on to Britain’s future relationship with the bloc.

Varadkar said he could still attend an EU leaders meeting next month to decide if there’s enough progress to allow talks move on even if an election is called. On Friday, he hinted that there might not be a deal in December, suggesting there may be another meeting in February.

The government will still seek the “best deal possible for Ireland” in December, said Doherty.

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