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Leo Varadkar seeks deal talks with Fianna Fáil

Leo Varadkar seeks deal talks with Fianna Fáil
Leo Varadkar seeks deal talks with Fianna Fáil
Image copyright PA
Image caption Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the confidence-and-supply agreement can only be revisited after the budget

Ireland's leading opposition party has described the Irish prime minister's hopes of renewing the parties' confidence-and-supply deal as "a distraction".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wrote to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on Friday asking to extend the deal for another two years, according to RTÉ.

Both parties are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss the 2019 Budget.

RTÉ reports that Fine Gael want a two-year guarantee for stability.

In the letter, Mr Varadkar set out 21 points in which Fine Gael has honoured the confidence-and-supply agreement, including scrapping domestic water charges.

But a spokesman for Fianna Fáil told RTÉ that the letter was "a kite that should be left fly away with the wind".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Leo Varadkar wrote to Micheál Martin last Friday

He added that the priority is the upcoming budget talks, which are just five weeks away.

Any discussions on extending the confidence-and-supply agreement could only happen after that, he said.

Mr Martin made similar comments recently that the confidence-and-supply agreement talks can only begin after the budget.

'Interest of the people'

The letter argues that "much has changed" since the two parties struck an agreement in 2016.

Mr Varadkar said Brexit, an overheated economy, changes to the international corporate tax landscape and possible disruptions to the global trading system pose significant threats to the country.

"Without a doubt, there is more to do," he wrote.

While the confidence-and-supply deal has no end date, it has been widely understood that it extends for three budgets.

"It is my view that a government cannot function or work in the interests of the people if it is living on borrowed time.

"A government cannot function if it does not know if it will last from week-to-week or month-to-month, if it does not know what will happen to its programme and legislative agenda the day after budget day or the day the Finance Bill is passed," he wrote.

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