Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said he wants a general election in May 2020 to allow for an orderly discharge of the Government’s duties after Brexit.
“I think May 2020 is the right moment. It will allow to us to complete a full parliamentary session in the new year, discharge our Government duties around St Patrick’s Day and the March European Council and have a new government in place well in advance of the next summer recess,” said Mr Varadkar.
“We should also, by then, have secured a Brexit deal or have guided the country through the worst of no deal. Though timelines, when it comes to Brexit, are unpredictable, I have always said that I believed that the next general election should take place in the summer of 2020,” he said.
Speaking at the Fine Gael parliamentary think-in in Cork, he told party members: “I believe we can win that election.”
“In fact, I am sure of it, even though it may not become apparent until the last week or 10 days of the campaign.”
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar said the Budget in October would not be an austerity Budget despite Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe stating it is being based on a no-deal Brexit.
He said there will be a package of financial supports in the event of a no-deal Brexit and an extra 900 million euro for public infrastructure will be spent on schools, primary care, housing, roads and job creation.
“We will honour the commitments we’ve made to restore and increase pay for hard-working public servants – teachers, defence forces, nurses and healthcare staff,” he said.
Mr Varadkar accused Fianna Fail of making financial promises that “can only be filled with higher taxes or greater borrowing”.
“They need to come clean and tell us. There’s a new promise to a new group every week. And when you promise everything to everyone, it means your promises aren’t worth much. They can’t be trusted,” he said.
“They have no solutions. No policies. No plans. And they do not have the team to match ours.”
He went on to say the Green Party could become “the Trojan horse” that allows Fianna Fail to return to government.
“They’ve done it before. We don’t want to go back to that,” he said.
Mr Varadkar hit out at Sinn Fein for not taking their seats in Westminster when crucial decisions affecting Ireland were being made.
“They don’t see Brexit as a problem – they see it as an opportunity. Calling for a border poll isn’t showing leadership on Brexit. It’s really bad timing and risks making a bad situation worse. It’s the very opposite of leadership,” he said.