Simon Coveney expects Government to last 'for at least 18 months yet'

The Foreign Affairs Minister says Fine Gael needs to be ready for an election at any time

Simon Coveney expects Government to last 'for at least 18 months yet'

File photo of Simon Coveney. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Simon Coveney has said he expects the Government to last for "at least" another 18 months - but added Fine Gael will be ready for an election at any time.

The Foreign Affairs Minister and deputy leader of Fine Gael was speaking to Pat Kenny ahead of his party's think-in in Clonmel today.

Minister Coveney suggests they are prepared for the possibility of a snap poll - although they have no intention of calling one at the moment.

He observed: "We don't want an election now, I don't think the country wants an election now. But because we lead a minority government, we have to be ready for one at any point in time - and we will be.

"I expect this Government will run for at least 18 months yet. We have a lot of work to do. My focus at the moment is very much on Brexit, and on Northern Ireland [...] As you'd expect I'm very involved in the housing debate as well."

This year has seen a change in party leadership, with Leo Varadkar taking over from Enda Kenny as party leader.

Minister Coveney himself was promoted to deputy leader after losing his leadership bid to the now Taoiseach.

The Cork minister and TD believes the party is in good shape.

He argued: "Being in Government is about delivering for people, and that's what we need to focus on first & foremost. But in the background we obviously have to be ready for an election as well."