Varadkar indicates it is still his preference to hold summer election

Two potential election dates on either February 7th or February 14th have been mooted in recent days

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking to the media ahead of  Fine Gael’s parliamentary party meeting in Dublin. Photograph: McCurry/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking to the media ahead of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party meeting in Dublin. Photograph: McCurry/PA Wire

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is planning to reconvene the Dáil next Wednesday as he indicated it was still his personal preference to hold an election in the summer.

Speaking on his way into a Fine Gael meeting on Friday, he said “if there is any change in that I will let you know”.

There has been renewed speculation in recent days that Mr Varadkar may call a snap general election, with many Fine Gael TDs privately calling for it.

At a meeting of the parliamentary party in Dublin on Friday, Mr Varadkar told TDs it would be held “in the coming weeks or months”.

Two potential election dates on either February 7th or February 14th have been mooted in recent days.

“It could be the love of the people and, hopefully, a Valentine’s Day massacre for our opponents,” Mr Varadkar said on Friday.

It came as the Government announced €77.4 million in funding for 25 sports projects under the the new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund.

As part of this €10 million was allocated to Connacht Rugby’s Sportsground redevelopment project. A further €10 million was then announced by the Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne.

At the parliamentary party meeting on Friday one TD said that a discussion was held on what the party’s key messages should be over the coming months, and that candidates should emphasise the Government’s record in relation to the economy.

“The key takeaway is to never forget the work done on the economy, that it is the core behind everything we are trying to achieve, and we are the party of prudence. We need to put that in all of our messages.”

Mr Varadkar has also said that he believes he has enough support to win an expected vote of no confidence in Minister for Health Simon Harris. The rural Independents group has said it plans to table the motion on February 5th.

“I think we will have the numbers for that, actually. I’ve lost count of the number of confidence motions that have been put down over the last couple of years. They’re all defeated, and they’re largely done so that individual members of the Opposition or particular Opposition parties can get some air-time, and that’s the game and they’re playing it, fair enough, but let’s not take it too serious.”

Mr Varadkar said the motive behind the motion was for “air-time”.

Independents

The Government is reliant on the support of Independents such as Noel Grealish, Michael Lowry and Denis Naughten. When asked if he was going to contact the TDs for their support, Mr Varadkar said he would “think about that over the weekend”.

He will meet with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin for a second time next week.

It is understood Mr Varadkar also held a meeting with members of the Independents Alliance last night.

Earlier on Friday he indicated that he did not want to rush into an election decision.

“When the time is right for an election, it should be at the right time for the country, not necessarily the right time for any political party or any particular politician.

“When you’re in politics you always have to be prepared for an election. At the same time you can always be better prepared for election, but that’s not what matters.

“And I think sometimes when people rush into decisions they may get the accolade of being decisive, but they actually make the wrong decisions. And before I make a decision I always consider all the options and all the facts.”