Ireland's government on brink of collapse with Martin's party in 'panic mode', ...

IRELAND'S teetering coalition government is on verge of imploding, with Taoiseach Micheal Martin in "serious trouble" and a general election a distinct possibility, a former top diplomat has said.

PUBLISHED: 08:30, Tue, Sep 15, 2020 | UPDATED: 09:03, Tue, Sep 15, 2020

Such is the seriousness of the crisis, Ray Bassett, Ireland's former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, believes former leader Leo Varadkar may even be tempted to pull the plug his Fine Gael party out of the three-party deal with Mr Martin's Fianna Fail and the Greens, led by Eamon Ryan. Meanwhile, if the country does go to the polls, he predicted Sinn Fein's Mary Lou MacDonald would stand a good chance of becoming Ireland's next Taoiseach - with Ireland likely to face a straight choice between her and Mr Varadkar.

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I have no doubt but that Martin is in serious trouble

Ray Bassett

Mr Bassett, who recently published his new book, Ireland and the EU Post Brexit, told Express.co.uk: "I have no doubt but that Martin is in serious trouble.

"He appears to be completely out of touch with the popular mood.

"The opinion polls are so bad and so consistent that they cannot be explained away as something very temporary."

Micheal Martin Leo VaradkarTaoiseach Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Image: GETTY)

Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald could be Ireland's next Taoiseach, said Mr Bassett (Image: GETTY)

Consequently Mr Martin's days as Fianna Fail leader may be numbered, Mr Bassett suggested.

He explained: "The Fianna Fail people I know are in panic mode and while they do not want to be disloyal to a sitting Taoiseach, they may have no alternative but to turn on their leader.

"They are facing an electoral wipeout, especially in Dublin, if they continue down the current path.

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Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar stood down as Taoiseach in June as part of the coalition deal (Image: GETTY)

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"Martin's choice of Ministers was disastrous, especially with the Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, visibly floundering, and now largely withdrawn from public announcements.

"He created several

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