Ireland's deputy PM Frances Fitzgerald resigns

Iain Gilbert WebFG News | 28 Nov, 2017 15:52 | | |


Ireland narrowly avoided an election that held the potential to throw a spanner in the works of crucial Brexit negotiations after the country's Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald chose to step down from her role, putting an end to a political impasse that began a week earlier.

Fitzgerald resigned as a result of her handling of a controversial police whistleblower that led to mounting pressure for her to stand aside in an effort to avoid an election campaign that would run simultaneously with an important meeting of EU leaders in December over Britain's departure from the bloc.

"Throughout my career, I have always sought to act with integrity and responsibility," Fitzgerald said on Tuesday.

"That is why I have decided on this occasion to put the national interest ahead of my own personal reputation."

Irish PM Leo Varadkar had been under pressure to clean up the mess within his ranks ahead of the next round of Brexit negotiations with the UK, one of Ireland's biggest trading partners, after Fianna Fáil of the opposing Republican Party confirmed her party would initiate a vote of no confidence in Dublin.

The issue was centred on exactly how much Fitzgerald knew about a legal strategy to discredit the whistleblower while she was justice minister.

At first she denied having any memory of emails where she had been informed of a plan by lawyers to raise questions over the whistle blower's integrity with false allegations, but as more details became public, Fitzgerald changed her tune, saying it would have been impossible for her to interfere as the government had set up an independent inquiry into the matter.

"I have always believed in due process and I believe that in the current situation that is becoming increasingly difficult for me," she said on Tuesday.

"I acted correctly in difficult circumstances and, in fact, did everything that I could to support the search for truth and protect whistleblowers."

Irish bonds outperformed the rest of Europe in the short-end of the yield curve after Fitzgerald's resignation.

More news

17 Dec Sunday newspaper round-up: Poundland, Lloyds, Brexit, broadband, Amazon

The scandal-hit parent company of high street discount chain Poundland will this week face key creditors and insurers at a meeting that could determine the future of its British retail operations. Poundland is already under intense pressure after Atradius - one of the credit insurers on which suppliers rely to ensure they get paid - reduced its cover for the group. Reliable industry sources say another credit insurer, Euler Hermes, is also considering cutting cover. - The Sunday Times

15 Dec London close: Footsie gains as pound drops, Wall Street hits fresh highs

The top flight index recovered some ground on Friday, but mostly on account of weakness in Sterling after German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly echoed other European Union officials, saying "the most difficult phase is ahead of us".

15 Dec Week ahead: US data, Catalan elections in focus

The focus in the coming week will continue to be on the ebb and flow of data out of the US, including Republicans' progress on securing passage of their tax cuts.

15 Dec US open: Stocks jump as Republicans move to secure passage of tax cuts

Wall Street is heading higher again on Friday amid news that Republicans were tweaking their proposed tax cuts in order to secure prompt passage of the US tax bill.

15 Dec Airbus chief executive to step down in board shake-up

The chief executive of French planemaker Airbus will step down from his position in 2019 as the company announced a major shake-up of its management team.

15 Dec FTSE 250 movers: TalkTalk rises but Serco gives back gains

London’s FTSE 250 was up 0.1% to 20,023.23 in afternoon trade on Friday as the Christmas lull kicked in.

15 Dec US industrial production rises slightly less than expected in November

Industrial production in the States rose slightly less quickly than expected last month, despite higher output of business equipment and materials.

15 Dec Strategic Minerals renegotiates acquisition of Leigh Creek Copper Mine

Diversified mineral production and development company Strategic Minerals announced on Friday that, after the successful completion of technical and financial due diligence on the Leigh Creek Copper Mine company, it has agreed to continue with the acquisition on renegotiated terms.

15 Dec FTSE 100 movers: Sky jumps but retailers retreat on H&M sales

London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3% to 7,469.23 in quiet afternoon trade on Friday.

15 Dec Gfinity partners with Microsoft for next Halo World Championship

International esports entertainment group Gfinity has been named as a preferred event partner to Microsoft for the forthcoming ‘Halo World Championship 2018’ for the next season, it announced on Friday.