Minister criticises Micheál Martin for pushing for election date

‘He knows he has lost control and he doesn’t like it,’ says Regina Doherty

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty says there will be an election “if not in the next long number of weeks, definitely in the next couple of months”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty says there will be an election “if not in the next long number of weeks, definitely in the next couple of months”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has accused the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin of pushing for a general election date because “he has lost control and he doesn’t like it”.

Her comment follows reports of a letter from Mr Martin to the Taoiseach calling on him to “step in and give some certainty” by setting an agreed election date.

In the letter he said Easter would be the “natural end of this Dáil” and that setting a date would prevent the “sudden shock” of a motion of no confidence.

However, on Newstalk Breakfast Ms Doherty said Mr Martin was only calling for certainty because the recent by-election results meant that Fianna Fáil was no longer the only party that could bring down the Government.

“He knows full well he is not in charge anymore and he is losing his life.”

She agreed that it would be healthy for the Dáil to have “certainty” and that the Fianna Fáil leader had previously refused to agree an election date while Brexit was “up in the air.

“The Dáil is coming to the end of its life and now anybody can probably be the cause of a general election being called and, from a normal person’s reading of it, Micheál Martin knows that he has lost control and he doesn’t like it.

“At the end of the day, the election is coming and it should be held at the time that is most appropriate for the country.

“Not for Micheál Martin and not even for Fine Gael.”

Ms Doherty said she personally hopes the Government will last until April or May, but admitted “honest to God I haven’t a clue”.

“At the end of the day, we are moving into the next phase of Irish governance. There will be an election, if not in the next long number of weeks, definitely in the next couple of months.

“The people will decide who is the best team to manage the country going forward.”