Tanaiste Leo Varadkar launched a broadside against Sinn Féin by warning the three ruling parties that their votes will rise in the next general election as part of a resurgence in centrist Irish politics.
Mr Varadkar questioned the perception that Sinn Féin’s recent strength in opinion polls will spell the end of the Fine Gael/Fianna Fail/Green coalition – amid controversy over whether Fianna Fáil might be open to a coalition deal with Sinn Féin.
At the Béal na mBlath ceremony to mark General Michael Collins’ centenary, both the Tanaist and Taoiseach Micheal Martin praised the importance of centrist Irish politics over the past 100 years and the search for compromises in the ‘middle ground’.
“In my view, the next general elections are more than two years away,” Mr Varadkar said.
“Our focus is very much on the work ahead and the work that people have given us to bring down the cost of living, build more homes and ensure we have job opportunities in every part of the country for every country.
“That is currently the focus of all three governing parties.
“When the election comes and it’s more than two years away I want the center of Irish politics to be strengthened and the center of Irish politics to grow.
“I think it’s possible – there are too many people who think the next general election is a foregone conclusion based on opinion polls.
“I dispute that. I think this government is doing well, we will achieve more in the next two years and it is possible that all three governing parties will see an increase in votes in the next general election.”
Fine Gael has flatly ruled out a coalition deal with Sinn Féin.
The Taoiseach – urging Fianna Fáil’s possible consideration of a coalition deal with Sinn Féin – warned that Ireland had benefited from avoiding extremes in politics.
“First of all, I think if you take from today’s speeches that there is one very important point – that we have not embarked on a clear left-right path in Ireland since independence.
“Sometimes some political commentators and political scientists have often said that there should be a clear left or extreme left and right divide.
“What has given Ireland this essential stability and continuity since independence has been its centrist politics.
“It is not uncommon in other European countries to have more than one center party – that has been the evolution of the Irish political system for quite some time.”
He said he thinks it worked in the context of the advances that have been made over a century.
“From Ireland 100 years ago to what it is today.
“Exceptional progress has been made on a whole range of fronts. Now we face big challenges in the coming (years) – the war in Ukraine, housing, the climate, healthcare reform and the cost of living crisis there.”
He said the government has been very successful despite major challenges.
“Now all parties at different times – and today is not the day to go into the details of that – have a common vision of Europe.
“Each party brings their own programs – anyone who looks at the government program negotiations knows there was a lot.
They were detailed (talks) and lengthy, and that’s because each party had different perspectives on different issues to bring up.
“It’s a healthy process. In my opinion, that’s the approach that should be taken.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/tanaiste-leo-varadkar-says-three-government-parties-will-see-their-vote-grow-at-the-next-general-election-41926947.html Tanaiste Leo Varadkar says three ruling parties will see gains in votes in next general election