10:30 GMT20 June 2021
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    The election will decide the future of Frances Fitzgerald who faces a vote of no confidence in the country's parliament next week.

    Ireland could face snap elections after opposition demanded deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald to step down over her approach to a police whistleblower scandal.

    On Friday, opposition party Fianna Fail, the second largest party in the country, submitted a motion of no confidence to the deputy prime minister, which the ruling party views as a violation of a three-year deal to support PM Leo Varadkar's minority government, according to Reuters.

    The move means that Varadkar has to choose between firing his deputy or facing a collapse of the voting agreement that enables his government to adopt laws, a situation that has been perceived by the ruling party as an attempt to fuel political tensions at a time of complicated Anglo-Irish relations over Brexit.

    Unless Fitzgerald opts for resignation before the no confidence motion is discussed in the parliament next week, the government is likely to collapse, leading to snap elections next month.

    For his part, Irish Minister of Finance Pascal Donohoe called the prospect of snap elections and the country remaining without a proper government during Brexit talks unconscionable.

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    The scandal surrounding deputy PM involves an email from May 2015 which contained information about how lawyers of a former police chief Nóirín O'Sullivan, clashed with legal representatives of Maurice McCabe, a police officer and whistleblower, who accused police of malpractice.

    The email revealed a strategy used by the high command of Ireland's police service against McCabe and described their attempts to discredit McCabe's motives.

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    The opposition says that Fitzgerald was aware of what was going on, but kept silent.

    The politician has argued, for her part, that she forgot about the e-mail, and that in any case, she could not legally intervene.

    Related:

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