Offaly TD Barry Cowen this week caused some controversy in Leinster House after he claimed the confidence and supply agreement between his party, Fianna Fail, and Fine Gael was unlikely to be renewed.
The deal sees Fianna Fail propping up a Fine Gael led government with the Independent Alliance and a number of Independents. The party agreed to support the government in three budget votes, the third of which would be signed off in October.
Cowen has been quoted as saying the "natural lifetime" of the agreement, which would be up for discussion again in the Autumn, "may be over”.
Cowen earmarked issues like housing and health as ones the government has thus far failed to resolve. He went on to say, “We have met the demand that was placed upon us."
"We’ve realised our ambition and can see the end in sight. If it is a process that is to be prolonged, that is to be fed into with other members," he added.
He said, "I hope that we can be in a personal position to strengthen and elongate the deal, but if not, so be it." "We [Fianna Fail] will take our responsibility and go to the people and seek assurance for us to lead government rather than facilitate it in the future."
Speaking to the Irish Examiner in the wake of the comments, Independent Alliance Minister Finian McGrath said, "talk of an election is irresponsible."
"This is Barry Cowen’s usual huff and puff talk," he added.
The current arrangement would see Fianna Fail supporting the government in the next budget in October and it's expected talks aimed at resolving a possible renewing of the deal will take place beforehand between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Michéal Martin.
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