Irish Taoiseach “is doing everything he can” to placate opposition party and avert general election

Oliver Gill
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Theresa May Holds Talks With Ireland's Taoiseach
Leo Varadkar became Ireland's youngest prime minister in June (Source: Getty)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is pulling out all the stops in a race against time to avoid an unwanted snap general election.

Taoiseach Varadkar “is doing everything he can” to prevent Ireland going to the polls before Christmas. He has until Tuesday before the opposition party – which has previously promised temporary support of the government – brings a motion of no confidence before parliament in deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald.

The motion, brought by Fianna Fail, follows Fitzgerald's handling of a police whistle-blowing case. Varadkar has vowed to call a general election if the motion is not averted.

Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin are locked in talks on the matter, which are due to go to the wire.

Read more: Ireland promises to "play tough" on Brexit as border issue looms

“The Taoiseach is doing everything he can to avoid an election, and hopes it will be possible to reach agreement with Micheal Martin,” Varadkar’s spokesman said in a statement.

A general election could disrupt the pivotal role Ireland is set to play in an EU summit on Brexit starting on 14 December. Varadkar is to update EU leaders on whether sufficient progress has been made on a future border between the Irish republic and Northern Ireland.

In 2016 opposition Fianna Fail promised not to vote against a Fine Gael-led minority government in confidence motions and to support three budgets, two of which have subsequently passed.

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