Ireland heads to election as gov't on verge of collapse

Ireland heads to election as gov't on verge of collapse

Opposition party Fianna Fail, which previous year agreed to abstain in key votes to allow Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's Fine Gael party to form a government, called on deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald to resign.

Fianna Fail was in a confidence and supply deal with the leading Fine Gail and has supported the minority government since the general elections held in February 2016 did not give any political party a majority to form a government.

The instability comes just ahead of a major Brexit summit in December where the European Council will decide if the United Kingdom can move onto the next phase of negotiations.

Ireland's main opposition party on Friday submitted a motion of no-confidence in the deputy prime minister over her handling of a police whistleblower controversy, warning that elections loomed if she did not step down.

The Irish prime minister is "doing everything he can" to avoid a snap general election, a spokesman said Sunday.

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The Irish government is on the verge of collapse over a motion of "no confidence" Thursday night by the country's second largest party, Fianna Fail, against the deputy prime minister.

The crisis comes weeks ahead of a European Union summit in which the Irish government has an effective veto on whether Britain's talks on leaving the bloc progress as it determines if EU concerns about the future of the Irish border have been met.

"Fianna Fail are behaving recklessly here", he told reporters".

Bosses at a number of Ireland's top companies were quoted by the Sunday Business Post as telling the parties to step back from the brink.

Politicians say they also know there is no appetite among voters for an election just 18 months after the last one and an opinion poll on Saturday suggested there would be little change with another minority administration the most likely outcome.

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