Deputy Prime Minister of France Ian Fitzgerald resigns amid a crisis


  Frances Fitzgerald Image copyright

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Frances Fitzgerald has been at the center of a controversy that could have resulted in a quick general election

The deputy prime minister of Ireland, Frances Fitzgerald, has said that she will resign for the good of the country, avoiding the general elections.

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar accepted his resignation.

Mrs. Fitzgerald had been at the center of a controversy over whistleblowers Garda (Irish police) that could have caused the fall of the government.

He withdrew hours before the main opposition party, Fianna Fáil, proposed a motion of distrust in her.

  • Leo Varadkar: Frances Fitzgerald has done nothing wrong

There were fears that an Irish election could have complicated next month's EU meeting, at which the position of the Republic of Ireland will influence the evaluation of the progress of the United Kingdom in the Brexit talks.

According to the Irish radio station, RTÉ, Fitzgerald told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that she was not asking or forced to resign, but she made the decision herself.

Mrs. Fitzgerald played the double roles of tánaiste (Irish Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

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Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin had been in talks over the weekend

She had been under pressure to resign due to her inaction in supporting a Garda whistleblower, whom she had publicly defended in her former role as Irish justice minister.

Last week, it was revealed that he had been told of an attempt to discredit Sergeant Maurice McCabe by Commissioner Garda's lawyers in a commission of inquiry one year earlier than he had previously admitted.

He said he had forgotten the email and that he could not act on legal advice.

The publication of additional emails on Monday showed that she had been aware of the attempt to discredit the complainant on another occasion and many in her Fine Gael party had undermined it.

Motions of confidence

The Irish government is currently run by Mr Garadkar's Fine Gael party, but his cabinet includes a number of independent ministers and the coalition also depends on the support of the main opposition party, Fianna Fáil .

The coalition came to power in 2016, after a resounding general election in which no party won enough seats to govern alone.

Fianna Fáil agreed to support the government by three budgets and motions of trust, but the controversy of the complainants has put that agreement to the test.

If the vote of confidence of Fianna Fáil proposed in Mrs. Fitzgerald had pbaded, another election may have been inevitable.

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