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28th Nov 2017

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald to step down, according to reports

The decision was taken today.

Carl Kinsella

Frances Fitzgerald is set to step down as Tánaiste, according to two RTÉ political correspondents.

The announcements follow unconfirmed reports from other journalists. Business Post journalist Hugh O’Connell shared another unconfirmed report to Twitter on Tuesday morning, writing “Unconfirmed report from cabinet that Tánaiste to resign. I stress that this unconfirmed.”

The reports have been backed up by Irish Times journalist Roisin Ingle, who wrote “Hearing that #FrancesFitzgerald” is writing her resignation letter … so no election before Christmas but plenty of fall-out.”

Fitzgerald’s fellow Fine Gael TDs had originally continued to support the Minister for Business, who has become entangled in a web of scandal since it emerged she was privy to information on the Garda’s legal strategy in an alleged bid to undermine the credibility of whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Both Simon Coveney and Simon Harris had publicly said that Fitzgerald should not step down.

Fitzgerald herself issued a statement last night clearly implying her intention to continue in her role as Tánaiste.

Department of Justice emails released on Monday evening revealed that Fitzgerald had been briefed on how to respond in the media when she was asked about the Garda legal strategy — receiving three emails on the subject.

Fianna Fáil Justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan said on Claire Byrne Live last night that it was imperative that Fitzgerald step down in order to avoid an immediate election. Sinn Féin has also tabled a motion of no confidence in the minister that would have been voted on tomorrow. Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin described her position as “untenable” this morning.

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