No plans for early general election, Varadkar insists

No Plans For Early General Election, Varadkar Insists
Leo Varadkar, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By David Young and Cillian Sherlock, PA

The Taoiseach has insisted there are no plans for an early general election in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar said the next elections in the country will be the local and European polls in June next year.


A general election must be called by spring 2025 and Mr Varadkar dismissed any suggestion that Fine Gael may push for the coalition to call it in the first part of next year instead.

While the Taoiseach expressed confidence that Fine Gael can consolidate the seats it won at the last local and European elections, he warned against using those results as a barometer for predicting the outcome of the next general election.

Mr Varadkar also reiterated his desire to continue to lead Fine Gael into the forthcoming elections and beyond.

Ireland Energy Summit
Coalition leaders Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Liam McBurney/PA)

In wide-ranging comments at a summer media briefing, he also spoke of concerns among some would-be candidates that standing for election may expose them and their families to security threats and social media abuse.

“There are no plans for an early general election,” he told reporters.

“We are focusing on the job… a lot of the things the Government needs to get done in the next couple of months, particularly helping families with the cost of living and supporting business, making our communities safer, and really driving forward on housing and home-ownership, so the next national elections that will occur in Ireland will be local and European elections. And they’ll happen in June of next year.”


He added: “I’m leading the party into the next (general) election and hoping to form a government afterwards, and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Asked if bad results in the local or European polls would put him under pressure to consider his leadership, Mr Varadkar said: “Well, look, they are a while away yet. We did a very good local and European elections in 2019 as a party – we elected five MEPs, which was more than any other party – and we won about 25 per cent of local elections, we gained seats, which is unusual for a party of government to gain seats in local elections, but we did – we won 250 seats.

“So obviously we aim to consolidate that position and hold on to it, which I think we can do.

“All our MEPs are running again, which I think is a good sign, and almost all of our councillors are running again as well – so they certainly feel they can get re-elected, and we will put everything behind them.


“The same applies of course to Fianna Fáil and the Greens as well.”

Mr Varadkar also made clear that his party will meet the 40 per cent quota for female candidates at the next general election.



But he said prospective candidates, both male and female, need convincing that the pros of being a politician outweigh the negatives.

“I had the chance in the last couple of weeks to sit down with some people whom I’m keen to run for election – they are people my age and younger, some are women, and they do express concerns about safety or the impact on the family life, or having to take abuse on social media,” he said.

“And all those things are real. What I would always say back to them is the positive sides of politics, the opportunities are very real too, and they are very great…

“The chance to represent your community, the chance to represent your country, the chance to move away from giving out about things that frustrate you to actually being able to make them better and change them – that can be very rewarding as well.

“And sometimes we, as politicians, talk down our profession – everyone does it about their job, but I think we as politicians just need to think about that, and not deny the many downsides of being in public life, but actually talk about the really great things too, because you won’t get any people into any job if the people who are in the job only talk about the bad things.”

Mr Varadkar also highlighted the differences between elections and urged against using results from one poll as an indicator of what might happen in another.

“It’s a big mistake to think that local elections predict the outcome of general elections, even if it only comes six to eight months later,” he said.

“That’s what happened last time. A very bad day for Sinn Féin (in 2019 local elections) and yet they were the largest party within seven or eight months (in the 2020 general election) without changing their leader.

“Twenty-seven percent for Fianna Fáil (in the local election), everyone … predicting that they would win the general election and they actually lost seats.

“So I think it’s evident that thinking that local and European election results will result in a similar general election result is a presumption too far. We’ve just seen that in Spain, actually.”


Mr Varadkar, 44, once said he would consider leaving politics when he reached 50.

Highlighting that 50 is still a “long way off”, he made clear that he is not even considering a departure from the political front line.

“It is not something I have given consideration to,” he said.

“I’m enormously privileged to lead this Government, to be somebody who’s been able to hold the office of the Taoiseach twice, and very much focused on the job.”

Mr Varadkar also reflected on the differences between his first and second terms as Taoiseach.

“The first term, I think about what was done – leading the country through the early phase of the pandemic, saving so many jobs, saving so many lives,” he said.

“Leading the country through Brexit without a hard border between north and south, protecting our economy.

“Leading the country from unemployment to full employment and from austerity to prosperity, which is a lot.

“But then I think of all the things that we haven’t done yet, which is to make homeownership a reality for people in their 20s and 30s, like it used to be.

“That has to be a real focus for the next couple of years.

“And then helping people deal with the cost of living and deal with inflation, which is biting very hard.

“The truth is, there are always challenges and there are always problems and there’s always things to be done.”

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