Irish MEP warns it would be 'suicidal' for Ireland to consider an election in next 10 months

Brian Hayes say it's important to "get down and finish" the Brexit negotiations

Irish MEP warns it would be 'suicidal' for Ireland to consider an election in next 10 months

Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

An Irish MEP is warning it would be 'suicidal' for Ireland to even discuss a general election in the next 10 months.

Fine Gael's Brian Hayes believes Ireland has far too much at stake in Brexit negotiations to risk destabilising the Government.

He has also suggested that Fianna Fáil will not pull out of the confidence and supply agreement before a third Budget.

Speculation about the date of the next election has been building since Fine Gael's potential campaign slogans were leaked recently.

Over the weekend, The Sunday Times reported that Leo Varadkar has ordered members of his party to be 'election ready'.

However, speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Fine Gael Brian Hayes said nothing should happen before Brexit - which is set to finally take place in March 2019.

He observed: "Throughout the next 10 months or so, it would be suicidal for the country to be either discussing an election, having a shadow election, or going into an election in a circumstance where these negotiations are taking place.

"There is a huge amount at stake - so I just think we need to take our foot off the pedal on the rhetoric about elections right now, and get down and finish this negotiation."

He also argued: "Fianna Fáil has been very honourable - and their leader especially, Micheál Martin - in delivering [their] part of the confident and supply arrangement. I think both Fianna Fáil and himself want to deliver a third budget.

"The issue is, if we get to January and February and we're looking at a review or renewing of the confidence and supply arrangement... we're at a critical moment in the negotiation, if more time is needed."

Mr Hayes suggested it's important to put the 'election hype' to one side for now, and to focus on having a functioning Government and Dáil concentrating on the Brexit talks.