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Micheál Martin rules out 'reckless' election before Brexit

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has ruled out pulling the plug on the Government in the immediate aftermath of any Brexit breakthrough, saying it would be "reckless" to hold a vote before the end of the year, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith in Brussels.

Despite ongoing rumours of a snap election anytime between May and late summer, Mr Martin insisted he has given Taoiseach Leo Varadkar "the year" to work through the ongoing Brexit difficulties and will not change his position.

Speaking to reporters on the outskirts of the EU summit in Brussels and after the meeting of the ALDE political umbrella group of which Fianna Fáil is a member, Mr Martin said the one year confidence and supply extension remains.

And, pointing to the "instability" in the House of Commons, he said it would be wrong and "reckless" to cause an election while Ireland is still at real risk of a fallout from the major Brexit economic and political crisis.

"The language I've always used is that we've facilitated the continuation of a Government in the context of confidence and supply.

"I made it very clear before Christmas that Brexit, the instability around Brexit, made my view essential, and that is to give [the Government] 2019, to give it the year, to facilitate all of that.

"I think I've been proven right in agreeing that... I think it [an election] would have been a reckless thing to do, and it would be an irresponsible thing to do if we had an election right now or in January or February, given what has happened.

"We had a sense before Christmas we would be where we are today [in terms of Brexit], and we've given Government space to negotiate Brexit without having to look over their shoulder.

"I think it stands in stark contrast to the incoherence the absence of cohesion in UK to put their country first."