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Government Unstable, Time for an Election

12 October 2018

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has said the loss of guaranteed support from two TDs in the last fortnight has destabilised the Government and that now is the time for a general election.

Deputy Howlin said:

"When this Government was formed in May 2016, it was already inherently unstable. With Fianna Fáil abstaining, the Government requirement for a bare majority was just 58 out of 158 TDs, but the Taoiseach can only command the support of 56 now, having lost the support of one of his own TDs and now one of his Ministers, who will apparently offer support on a case by case basis.

"The call from Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin for no election before March 2019, when the UK leaves the EU, is misplaced. It is precisely because Brexit is so important that we cannot have a fatally weakened Government in charge at such a crucial time. There is too much risk that the hard decisions required to be taken would collapse the Government at the worst possible moment. The only way to resolve the instability is by calling a general election.

"The Budget this week was a spiritless and conservative budget without a purpose, which failed to address the long-term problems our country faces.

"On housing, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil favoured tax breaks to landlords and subsidies to developers instead of the transformative change proposed by Labour's plan to invest €16 billion in direct house-building.

"The Government also completely failed to take meaningful action on climate change by ignoring the Climate Change Advisory Council’s advice.

"On countless other issues, from hospital waiting lists and the lack of rural GPs, to the cost of childcare and of course the National Broadband Plan plunged into chaos, it is time for an election to allow the people to decide.

"The Government's wait-and-see approach is simply not delivering results.

"The Labour Party is ready for an election and we would welcome the opportunity to lead the debate on the future of our country."