Minister for Health Simon Harris has said Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin needs to provide greater clarity about his view on when the next election should be held. 

Speaking at the opening of Mayo Hospice in Castlebar this afternoon, Mr Harris said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had made it clear that his preference was to have an election in May 2020. 

He said Mr Varadkar had been writing to and calling on Mr Martin for several months, and again several times this week, to agree to uphold the confidence and supply arrangement until next summer. 

However, Mr Harris said "silence was all we keep getting back from the leader of Fianna Fáil."

He said the country needed greater clarity from Mr Martin in the coming days and weeks, to avoid the "nonsensical situation" where we go on and on with election speculation. 

His cabinet colleague, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring, said he agreed that an election should take place in May, and said he was confident this would be the case.

Mr Ring said he hoped Mr Martin would support the Taoiseach over the weekend and agree to hold an election, "just before the football season" begins next summer.