Coveney and Martin hail ‘mature’ pact

Coveney and Martin hail ‘mature’ pact
Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin, left, and Tánasite Simon Coveney.Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE Irish political system has shown maturity over Brexit while the UK has descended into political chaos, according to Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney.

The Fine Gael deputy leader said that his Cork South Central colleague Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and his party deserve credit for agreeing to extend the confidence and supply agreement for another year, pushing the next general election out to 2020.

He said it will give the minority Government the space to try and get the proposed Brexit deal over the line and prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

“It allows us to plan with the level of detail needed for all Brexit eventualities, as well as a number of other things the Government is focused on without looking over our shoulder about whether there is a general election,” he said.

“It’s not easy for Fianna Fáil to sign up to another year of Fine Gael in government — both parties are very competitive — but it is the right thing to do."

Speaking hours after more than 120 Conservative MPs voted against British prime minister Theresa May in a bruising confidence vote following her decision to delay a Brexit vote, he said that the UK is in “chaos” while Ireland is stable.

Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil is extending they deal in order to avoid that chaos spreading to Ireland.

“We simply do not believe that the national interest could in any way be served by taking up to four months during next year to schedule and hold an election campaign and then form a government.

“With business and communities already fearful about the impact of Brexit, and with Ireland manifestly not ready for many of the potential outcomes, how could it possibly be in the national interest to have extended political uncertainty next year?” he said.

Under the extension, nothing will be added to the existing policy programme following the 2016 general election, but Fianna Fáil is expected to seek support on some of its proposed legislation which has been delayed by the Government.

Mr Coveney said the deal would also allow for the passage of any emergency legislation necessary to mitigate the risks of Brexit.

He said his responsibility as Minister responsible for Brexit will be ensuring that the proposed Brexit deal gets approved, but also to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that the deal can be sold in Westminster, because it’s not going to change from an EU perspective.

“They seem to think that another deal is possible when it’s not,” he said.

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