November 24, 2017 / 8:38 AM / a year ago

Ireland does not need election amid crucial Brexit talks - Coveney

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney arrives to attend the Eastern Partnership summit at the European Council Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ireland does not need an election now that talks on the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union are entering a crucial phase on how to avoid a physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Friday.

The Irish government was on the verge of collapse on Thursday 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 agreement.

“Ireland does not need an election right now. There is no reason why Frances Fitzgerald should be forced to resign. The issues that are under discussion are under investigation by a tribunal we all agreed to set up,” Coveney said.

“The main opposition party... are risking an election at a time when there are some really, really serious issues for the government to manage in the national interests,” he said referring to Brexit negotiations.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Ralph Boulton

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