Irish Deputy PM under pressure from party to resign: sources

  28 November 2017    Read: 601
Irish Deputy PM under pressure from party to resign: sources

Irish Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald was under intense pressure from her own party to resign on Tuesday to avoid a snap election that is hours away from being triggered, members of the governing party told Reuters.

Ireland was on the verge of an election after the opposition party propping up the minority government said the deputy prime minister’s refusal to quit would force the country to the polls in December.

The crisis has cast a shadow over a key Brexit summit next month where Ireland will play a major role, telling EU leaders whether it believes sufficient progress has been made on the future of the border between EU-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

The front pages of the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Irish Independent newspapers quoted unnamed lawmakers and ministers from Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael party as saying Fitzgerald had to resign.

One minister, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity as senior ministers were due to meet on Tuesday morning, said Fitzgerald was coming under serious pressure from within the party to resign and would have to go. Another lawmaker agreed.

Fianna Fail, whose backing Varadkar requires from the opposition benches to keep his government functioning, has said it will move a motion of no confidence in Fitzgerald at 2000 GMT on Tuesday unless she quits, a position that hardened on Monday.

Fitzgerald resisted calls to go on Monday from the majority of opposition parties after pressure mounted on her following the release of fresh documents about her disputed handling of a police whistleblower who alleged corruption in the force.

A spokesman for Varadkar said late on Monday that the government still stood behind her.

“I think the Fine Gael leadership is in a state of delusion. The Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) needs to go, if she doesn’t go, then the Taoiseach (prime minister) needs to relieve her of her duties. The judgement of Leo Varadkar is very much in question here,” Mary Lou McDonald, leader of the left wing opposition party Sinn Fein told national broadcaster RTE.

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