Longford-Westmeath TDs in mixed response to general election speculation

Dail Eireann

Three of Longford Westmeath's four constituency TDs have offered up differing views on the likelihood of an upcoming general election

Fresh talk over the likelihood of a general election being held in the aftermath of the October Budget has drawn a mixed response from three of Longford-Westmeath’s four TDs.

The leaking of a Fine Gael report last week which accused Fianna Fáil of making €1.5bn worth of promises this year that the country cannot afford had renewed suggestions an election may just be around the corner.

The document, which was drawn up by an internal Fine Gael group, was one local TD Peter Burke was closely involved in devising.

ALSO READ: Longford Westmeath TD Robert Troy warns Varadkar against calling snap general election in wake of landslide Yes victory 

The Mullingar based accountant has made no secret of his preference to see the present confidence and supply agreement extended, a desire he repeated when contacted by the Leader on Monday.

“The Taoiseach has gone on record over his willingness to extend the confidence and supply agreement even though Fianna Fáil don’t want to discuss it until after the Budget,” he said.

Mr Burke laid claim to a number of looming economic challenges currently hanging over the country as grounds for the incumbent arrangement between the Dáíl’s two biggest political parties to remain intact.

“You have Brexit, the potential of the ECB (European Central Bank) to potentially raise interest rates, the taxation policies in the US and then you have what is going on in Italy.

“What it (extending confidence and supply agreement) would do is it would underwrite the Government going into the Budget to give certainty as you can’t run a country in a piecemeal fashion,” he said.

Minister of State for the OPW and fellow Longford-Westmeath TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran adopted a similar view, stressing the last thing voters needed was another election.

“The referendum has given the Government a mandate and Leo has done well because the Government has done well,” he said.

“I see no reason why this government can’t serve for another two years and to be honest, I am that busy I haven’t even got time to think about an election.”

Those sentiments were in sharp contrast to the ones espoused by local Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy.

He said his party were fully committed to ensuring the safe passage of the next budget which will complete Fianna Fáil’s third and final financial accord of its confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael.

“We (Fianna Fáil) have signed up and fulfilled our confidence and supply and from our perspective we are focused on ensuring we can bring in the next budget by making sure it is fair and equitable,” he said.

“If Fine Gael are focusing on an election instead of addressing and alleviating the many inadequacies that are clearly evident across our public sector and public services then that is for them to answer, not me.”

In a telling insight however, Mr Troy said he would have “no difficulty” in Fianna Fáil putting its governmental aspirations to the test once Budget 2019 has been rubber-stamped and enacted into law.

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