Ireland crisis: Leo Varadkar replacement Micheal Martin facing HUGE blow

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Mr Martin became Taoiseach at the end of last month in accordance with a coalition deal struck with Fine Gael, the party led for Mr Varadkar, and the Greens, led by Eamon Ryan. However, to complicate matters, the Greens are in the midst of a leadership contest, with deputy Catherine Martin challenging Mr Ryan for the top post. And at a hustings event this week, both said they would be prepared to collapse the coalition if they felt Green aims were not being served.

The new Government under Micheal Martin has had a very shaky start

Ray Bassett

Ray Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, told “The Greens are widely regarded as the weakest link in the new coalition and the new Government, under Micheal Martin has had a very shaky start, so that last thing it needs is a wobble in the Greens.

“The current Taoiseach Micheal Martin does not enjoy popular appeal and will earnestly want a period of stability where he can convince the public that he can govern.

“He needs to put his own stamp on the office of Taoiseach.

“The contest in the Greens is a distraction which he could do without.”

Addressing the remarks by both Mr Ryan and Ms Martin in respect of the fledgling coalition, Mr Bassett,  whose book, Ireland and the EU Post Brexit, is published later this month, added: “The two other parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, will be hoping that the threats to pull out of the Government are just part of the rhetoric in a leadership contest in the Greens and will be quietly shelved once the new leader is confirmed.

“Once a party settles into office, it will have lots of their party workers on the State payroll and that will be a stabilising factor.”

“People take out mortgages, loans, etc and are very reluctant to see their incomes disappear.

“However, the danger is that either candidate may make commitments to win the election which come back to haunt him or her.”

Mr Martin’s job has been complicated still further by the controversy which has engulfed recently appointed Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen over his drinking-driving conviction in 2016, when he only possessed a provisional driving licence.

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Speaking in Ireland’s Dail, or Parliament, Mr Cowan said: “Before the match I consumed two drinks and following the game had a light meal before driving home to Offaly.

“On the way to drop my friend home I was stopped by gardai and asked to participate in a breathalyser test.

“I did so, and both this test and a subsequent test at a local Garda station confirmed that I was over the legal alcohol limit.

“I subsequently secured and now hold a full clean driving licence,” he said.

“My decision in September 2016 to drive home after consuming any alcohol was a stupid stupid mistake.

“It never happened before the 18th of September 2016 and it has never happened since.

“It was a mistake for which I am profoundly sorry.”

Mr Martin commented: “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.”

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