FG fear FF will call elec­tion af­ter Bud­get 2018

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By John Dren­nan

SE­NIOR Fine Gael min­is­ters fear Bud­get 2018 will be scup­pered by an ‘in­creas­ingly des­per­ate Fianna Fáil who are start­ing to be­lieve Bud­get 2018 will be their last chance to pro­voke an elec­tion on their terms be­fore 2020’.

There’s grow­ing spec­u­la­tion Fianna Fáil will pull the plug on the mi­nor­ity govern­ment af­ter the bud­get is re­vealed in Oc­to­ber. A Fine Gael strate­gist ex­plained: ‘Once Bud­get 2018 is gone, the win­dow for an elec­tion is very thin. The spring and early sum­mer of 2018 will be dom­i­nated by re­peal the eighth [ref­er­en­dum]. ‘The au­tumn, whether we like it or not, will be all about the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

‘Then 2019 is out too, there are MEP and coun­cil elec­tions.’

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Char­lie Flana­gan told the Mail on Sun­day: ‘[Fianna Fáil] see the bud­get as a fi­nal fault-line, a po­lit­i­cal last chance sa­loon.’ He said: ‘If Fianna Fáil does pull the plug we will cam­paign on a ticket of sound eco­nomics and chal­lenge the pol­i­tics of pop­ulism.’

A se­nior Fianna Fáil strate­gist said: ‘Bud­get 2018 gives us our last good chance to go to the coun­try on our own terms.’

Mean­while, Fianna Fáil TD John McGuin­ness yes­ter­day said since Enda Kenny’s de­par­ture ‘the only thing that has changed is that we have a young jog­ging mem­ber of the twit­terati as Taoiseach’.

The Govern­ment, he said ‘think they are fool­ing the peo­ple with a jog here and a tweet there but pol­i­tics will have to wake up or peo­ple will fur­nish us with out­comes out of the norm’.

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