Varadkar seeks to secure broad FF support for rest of Dáil term

FF abstaining on key votes ‘no longer sufficient’ and party must vote with Government

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  (left) said he firmly rejected the idea of a “wind down” of the current Dáil session, something Fianna Fail leader Micheál  Martin  (right) proposed last year. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) said he firmly rejected the idea of a “wind down” of the current Dáil session, something Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin (right) proposed last year. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has asked Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to agree “an ambitious programme of legislation” for the remaining period of this Dáil term and has outlined a number of his legislative priorities in a letter.

Mr Varadkar said his priorities for the coming spring include negotiating a future relationship with the UK after Brexit; engaging with the British government and the Northern Ireland parties to restore powersharing, and agreeing reforms to the Local Property Tax and developing a new system for politicians’ Dáil expenses.

He said he firmly rejected the idea of a “wind down” of the current session, something Mr Martin had proposed last year.

Governments, the Taoiseach said, should be “active in their duties to the last moment”.

Mr Varadkar also warned that Fianna Fáil abstaining on key votes on the budget or in confidence motions was “no longer sufficient” and that the party must instead vote with the Government.

“I think it is reasonable of me to ask that you formally secure the support of all your TDs for this arrangement or agree to vote with the Government, where necessary, rather than abstain. This is the only way we can both be sure that it is sustainable.”

It comes after Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness said he will vote against the Government in future. Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin are due to meet in the coming days.