Martin puts the Brex on election ..for now

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Demo for hous­ing MICHEAL Martin snuffed out fears of a De­cem­ber election yes­ter­day by promis­ing not to col­lapse the Govern­ment un­til af­ter Brexit is re­solved.

In a let­ter to Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar, the Fianna Fail leader said they should both agree to con­tinue to pass the Fi­nance Bill and other leg­is­la­tion un­til the UK’S with­drawal terms are agreed next year.

He added: “The Ir­ish peo­ple would, I am sure you agree, be rightly con­cerned at any risk that a Gen­eral Election cam­paign would have on these talks at such a cru­cial pe­riod and an un­cer­tain post-election sit­u­a­tion.

“An election dur­ing this crit­i­cal time would cre­ate a dan­ger­ous in­sta­bil­ity dur­ing a pe­riod when the Brexit deal could be de­railed by the con­stantly chang­ing sit­u­a­tion in West­min­ster.”

But the let­ter sug­gests all bets could be off af­ter March 29, when the UK is due to quit the EU.

The olive branch came as a new poll showed sup­port for Fianna Fail has shot up. The re­sults of a sur­vey car­ried out by Red C on be­half of book­maker Paddy Power show a leap of five points in sup­port, up to 27%.

And that is be­fore the dra­matic res­ig­na­tion of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter De­nis Naugh­ten on Thurs­day.

The party now en­joys its high­est level of sup­port yet in 2018.

But the re­sults do not bode well for Fine Gael, who have gone from an 11 point lead in the most re­cent Red C poll to see­ing Fianna Fail close the gap, leav­ing Leo Varad­kar’s party with just a five point lead.

A Paddy Power spokesper­son said: “This opin­ion poll will have them rub­bing their hands to­gether with glee, as it’s cer­tain to give our chaotic Govern­ment plenty to chew on over the week­end.”

Fine Gael still com­mand the largest share of first pref­er­ence votes in Oc­to­ber with 32%, down one point, and de­spite show­ing a very mar­ginal


down­ward trend in re­cent polls they con­sis­tently have had the sup­port of about a third of the pop­u­la­tion dur­ing 2018.

Af­ter drop­ping some­what in the Red C Septem­ber poll, Fianna Fail’s gains dur­ing Oc­to­ber are at the ex­pense of Fine Gael, Labour, the In­de­pen­dents and the So­cial Democrats.

The re­search was car­ried out be­fore Mr Naugh­ten’s dra­matic res­ig­na­tion on Thurs­day. The Taoiseach yes­ter­day said the for­mer Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter had left him­self open to the per­cep­tion he had given some­one the “in­side track” when it came to a multi-mil­lion euro State con­tract. Speak­ing in Ca­van, he added that when it came to a con­tract as size­able as

An election dur­ing this crit­i­cal time would cre­ate a dan­ger­ous in­sta­bil­ity MICHEAL MARTIN

Mr Martin’s let­ter to the Taoiseach


MEET­INGS David Mc­court

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