The Irish government is on the verge of collapse after the party whose votes Prime Minister Leo Varadkar depends on to pass legislation said it would seek to remove the deputy prime minister in a breach of their cooperation deal. The move comes three weeks ahead of EU summit talks on Brexit. Alex Bourn reports.
The Irish government is teetering on the verge of collapse and facing a possible snap election, threatening to put yet another stumbling block in the path of Brexit negotiations. The Republic of Ireland's second largest party announcing on Thursday (November 23), it would table a vote of no confidence against the deputy prime minister. The move breaches a cooperation agreement with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. His minority government relies on votes from opposition Fianna Fail to pass legislation. Now the crisis comes three weeks ahead of an EU summit in which the Irish government is set to play a leading role. It has an effective veto on whether talks on Brexit can move on. And if a snap election is called next week, Dublin could be attending the talks with a caretaker prime minister. The crossing between Northern and Southern Ireland will be the UK's only land frontier with the bloc after it leaves. A deal on the subject is one of three preconditions set by Brussels for moving on to trade talks, and while both sides say they want the frontier to stay open, there's still no agreement on how that might be done.