POLL: Who would you like to see as Taoiseach after the next General Election?
The controversy surrounding former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald threatens to bring an end to the current Fine Gael minority government, jolting the country into an early General Election.
The controversy centres upon Fitzgerald's handling of information relating to an alleged smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sgt. Maurice McCabe during the O'Higgins Inquiry.
Emails released in recent days suggest Frances Fitzgerald was aware of this planned 'aggressive legal strategy' by senior garda officials toward Sgt. McCabe in May 2015, despite suggesting on official record that she found out almost a year later in 2016 when the matter came to media attention.
A second email revelation suggests the Garda Commissioner at the time, Noirin O'Sullivan, contacted the Department of Justice directly in July 2015 on foot of a request for information on such a legal strategy to the Garda Press Office from RTE.
It is suggested that a senior official in the Department flagged the contact with the Minister at the time, making that the second time she had become aware of such a legal strategy.
In the wake of these revelations, Fianna Fáil, the party who signed a confidence and supply agreement to prop up the Fine Gael government, lodged a motion of no confidence in the Tanaiste, Frances Fitzgerald.
That motion is scheduled to be debated in the Dáil later this evening but talks are ongoing between Micheal Martin and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to avert the impending collapse of the government.
Fine Gael are standing by their Minister and want Fianna Fáil to hold off on their no confidence motion until January when Frances Fitzgerald can give evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal.
It looks unlikely that Micheal Martin will march his troops back down the mountain on the issue, a move that would seemingly threaten his own stability as leader of Fianna Fáil.
All signals point toward an imminent resignation by Frances Fitzgerald or a General Election before Christmas or early January.
In light of all this, the opinion polls suggest that such an election would throw up largely similar results to current TD numbers, effectively giving us another stalemate and paving the way for protracted talks aimed at forming the next government.
Fine Gael are expected to maintain their numbers, if not actually lose a couple of seats, while Fianna Fáil are expected to gain slightly at their expense along with Sinn Féin. Independents would return similar numbers.
So, in the wake of all that, we want to know who you would prefer as the next Taoiseach from the likely contenders?
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