Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael GE war of words escalates in Longford as talk of pre-Christmas election gathers pace

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Electoral officers to visit every home in Louth

The possibility of a pre Christmas general election is refusing to go away as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil continue their political jousting over whether or not to extend the two parties confidence and supply agreement.

Both party leaders have been embroiled in a very public tit-for-tat which has dominated the front pages of national newspapers in the lead up to next Tuesday’s Dail resumption after its summer recess.

In a lengthy and at times robust defence of the Government’s performance to date, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wrote to Fianna Fáil party leader Micheal Martin warning him that the present administration would be unable to act in the best interests of the public “if it is living on borrowed time”.

Mr Martin replied with his own letter soon after, claiming the stance taken by Fine Gael painted an “incomplete picture” adding the current agreement was one he was unwilling to discuss further pre-Budget.

Much of the same chiding, albeit in a slightly milder form, has likewise been evident between the constituency’s two sitting TDs Robert Troy (Fianna Fáil) and Peter Burke (Fine Gael).

The former was quick to scoff at pleas made by Mr Varadkar seeking assurances that there will be no general election until the summer of 2020.

“He (Leo) wants an election alright,” snapped an indignant Mr Troy. “Sure, he has a fundraiser in Castleknock next week at €200 a plate.

“That's well within the reach of the working man isn't it?

“Here is the man who, when contesting the Fine Gael leadership, went around looking to set up fictitious accounts just to put positive comments up online,” remarked Mr Troy.

In response, Mr Burke offered up a differing take as he reiterated his previously expressed desire to renew the accord between both parties sooner rather than later.

The Mullingar based chartered accountant insisted it would be “reckless and brinkmanship in the extreme” to postpone renegotiating the terms of the deal at a time when the country was facing into pressures brought about by Brexit and threats to its corporate tax regime.

“I would be concerned,” he said.

“If someone has a job, a family to look after, a mortgage and their contract is up for renewal on December 31, would that person wait until December 31 to open up the channels of communication with their employer?” Mr Burke said, stating the present arrangement between both parties took 70 days alone to shake hands on.

“The same applies here (with the confidence and supply deal). The Taoiseach has been very clear when he says he cannot run a government not knowing whether it will be in existence on a month by month basis.”