Irish deputy PM resigns, averting election threat

Ireland’s scandal-hit deputy prime minister has resigned, averting a government collapse and potential snap election that had threatened to complicate Brexit talks next month.

IRELAND (REUTERS) - Ireland narrowly avoided a pre-Christmas snap election after the Tanaiste - that is the Deputy Prime Minister - resigned on Tuesday (Nov 28).

Frances Fitzgerald had been under pressure following her disputed handling of a police whistleblower who alleged corruption in the force.

Still smiling as she arrived to work on Tuesday, she had until then resisted calls to quit and had the backing of the Prime Minister Leo Varadakar.

The crisis had added another layer of uncertainty over a key Brexit summit next month where Ireland is to play a major role.

EU leaders are waiting to hear on whether sufficient progress has been made on the future of the border between

EU-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Frances Fitzgerald says she decided to step-down so that the country can quote "be spared an unnecessary election," but she leaves behind a Fine Gael party in turmoil.

Irelands political crisis appears far from over.