Irish government COLLAPSE: Bumbling Varadkar and Martin told to pull plug after crisis
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Ms McDonald was speaking in the midst of turbulent times for Taoiseach Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar, who are still dealing with the fallout from “Golfgate”, whereby several high-profile politicians attended a social function in breach of new coronavirus restrictions. Fianna Fail leader Mr Martin and Fine Gael leader Mr Varadkar, who preceded him as Taoiseach, joined with the Greens, led by Eamon Ryan, in June – but Mrs McDonald suggested the deal’s days were numbered.
Chaotic govt must end
Mary Lou McDonald
Demands to recall the Dail, currently on a six-week recess, were initially rebuffed – but a government statement issued yesterday indicated it will now return at least a week early.
Mrs McDonald argued the decision did not go far enough, tweeting: “Dail should be back this week. Govt delay is wrong.
“Politics needs to get ahead of the big challenges of school returns, healthcare capacity, protecting jobs and workers. Chaotic govt must end.”
She also retweeted a post from Sinn Fein’s official account stating: “The Dáil must be recalled. This shambolic government must answer questions and rebuild public confidence.
“We are elected to the Dáil. This is not a country club. We are accountable to the people. #RecallTheDáil #golfgate”
Two days earlier, as news of the social function at the County Galway Station House Hotel emerged, Ms McDonald posted: “The government is increasingly chaotic, confused, with no direction. They must be held to account.”
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Meanwhile, Labour leader Alan Kelly asked why the Dail could not return tomorrow, saying: “Announcing in the middle of the night a recall of the Dail that won’t happen for over a week sums up the chaos at the heart of this government.
“A delayed return of the Dail is not acceptable, and it should come back this Tuesday, 25th August.”
The Government’s statement said: “The Taoiseach, Tanaiste, and Minister Eamon Ryan have agreed that the Dail should be recalled following the reopening of schools.
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“The Taoiseach will make this request to the Ceann Comhairle on Monday.”
Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary resigned after details of the plush dinner, attended by roughly 80 people, came to light, with the event happening the day after new rules prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than six people were agreed by Mr Martin’s cabinet.
Senator Jerry Buttimer, the deputy chairman of Ireland’s Upper House, the Seanad, also quit – but not, so far at least, Phil Hogan, Ireland’s European Commissioner for Trade.
Mr Hogan has issued a “fulsome and profound apology” for his attendance – but remains under intense pressure, with both Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar calling on him to “consider his position”.
Speaking to RTE this morning, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said he too believed Mr Hogan should tender his resignation.
A spokesman for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was monitoring the situation “closely”.
He added: “She requested Commissioner Hogan to provide a full report with details of the event.
“It is important that facts are established in detail to carefully assess the situation.”
Brussels-based policy analyst Pieter Cleppe, formerly with the Open Europe think tank, told Express.co.uk: “This is seen as everyone sees it: as a misstep.
“Then unclear to what extent Brussels EU officials see it as cause for resignation.”
Asked about the likelihood of the Commission asking for Mr Hogan to resign, Mr Cleppe added: “Perhaps if the pressure would build, yes, but we are far from that point.”
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