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Micheal Martin crisis: Ireland’s new leader ALREADY on brink days after replacing Varadkar

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Yes, I would be prepared to cause an election and I think that is known

Catherine Martin

The three-way deal, struck last month, saw Mr Martin take over from Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach (Irish prime minister), with the Fine Gael leader as his deputy and the Greens signing up after protracted negotiations. However, both leader Eamon Ryan and deputy Catherine Martin, who are in the midst of a leadership contest, each indicated their willingness to walk away. Speaking at the party’s Ireland South hustings on Tuesday, Ms Martin said: “Yes, I would be prepared to cause an election and I think that is known.

“But it’s not that I’m going to walk in every day threatening that cause that wouldn’t work in a partnership.

“But I’m hoping that at the back of their minds they know that there is the chance of that happening.”

Mr Ryan also said he would be willing to collapse the Government, stressing without what he called a “green transition”, there was no point to his party being in power.

Mr Martin has endured a difficult start to his time as Irish leader.

Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen yesterday told the Dail, Ireland’s equivalent of the House of Commons, he was “profoundly sorry” after details of a 2016 drink-driving ban came to light.

Road safety campaigners have also pressed Mr Cowen on why he only had a provisional driving license at the age of 49.

Prior to Mr Cowen’s statement, Mr Martin told the Dail: “No politician is above the law and no politician should be above the law.

“In respect of Mr Cowen, you will note that punishment was meted out in respect of his transgression four years ago.”

There was further bad news from Gabriel Makhlouf, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, who on Tuesday described the outlook for Ireland’s economy is “very uncertain” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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He told a special committee of the Oireachtas (Ireland’s legislature): “The path ahead for the economy will depend on the future path of the virus, the degree to which containment measures need to remain in place or be reintroduced, and the immediate and longer-lasting effects on behaviour and economic activity.

“Given the scale of uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook, last week we set out two scenarios: one – our baseline – assumes that the phased easing of the containment measures takes effect as planned; the other – a more severe scenario – assumes the current containment measures remain in place for longer because of a resurgence of the virus.

“Under our baseline, consumer spending is projected to rebound in the second half of this year but to decline by 10 percent for the year as a whole.

“Overall, the recovery is expected to be gradual, reflecting a lingering effect of the shock on consumers and businesses.

“Contact-intensive sectors, which also tend to be labour-intensive sectors, are likely to be the slowest to recover.”

Speaking last month, Ray Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, foresaw future problems for the coalition.

He told “I imagine Leo is somewhat relieved to pass the responsibility to Micheal for the moment but I am sure there will be rivalries ongoing between the two them.

“There is a danger that with two big parties in Government, neither is willing to meekly defer to the other so there is always the potential for trouble.

“It will be very interesting to see how the dynamic between the two bigger parties works out.

“There is a long history of antagonism between them.”

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