Irish government faces crisis at crunch time for Brexit

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade arrives for an Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. European Union leaders meet with their counterparts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine for a summit in Brussels on Friday. British Prime Minister Theresa May is also due to hold separate talks with her EU partners. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)

LONDON - Ireland's government is at risk of collapse, three weeks before a crucial European Union summit on Brexit.

The Fianna Fail party says it will table a no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's deputy, Frances Fitzgerald, over her involvement in a long-running police scandal. Varadkar's Fine Gael party is standing by her.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Friday that Fianna Fail was "behaving recklessly" and that Ireland does "not need an election right now."

EU leaders will decide Dec. 14-15 whether there has been enough progress in Brexit talks to start discussions over Britain's future relations with the bloc.

Ireland says the EU will block those talks if Britain does not spell out how it can keep the Ireland-Northern Ireland border free of customs posts and other barriers.

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