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Varadkar questions ‘wisdom’ of coalition TDs voting against referenda

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has questioned the decision of Government politicians announcing they had not voted in favour of recent constitutional amendments.

Over the weekend, the Irish Government suffered major defeats to two proposed changes to the constitution relating to the definition of family and State recognition of women and carers.

The three coalition parties had campaigned in favour of the the amendments, but a number of Fianna Fail representatives have since said they voted against the Government in one or both of the referenda.

Mr Varadkar, the leader of Fine Gael, said he had not spoken to Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who is in Canada.

Speaking to reporters in Boston, he said he did not anticipate it would adversely affect relations between the coalition partners “in any way”.

However, Mr Varadkar added: “But you know, I would question why people would announce that they’re on the winning side, only after they realised who had won.

“I can understand how people in the privacy of the ballot box might vote in a particular way but I’m not really sure what the wisdom of it is.

“But, you know, they’re all elected in their own right, and they’re all grown ups and they’re all free to explain themselves.

“I don’t think I can do it for them.”

Mr Varadkar said it was the “full-time job” of Government TDs and Senators to have understood the issues in advance of the vote.

He added: “They had ample time and they are paid to do this.”