herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Fianna Fail's newcomers open to deal involving FG

Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin Photo: Arthur Carron
Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin Photo: Arthur Carron

A significant number of Fianna Fail's first-time TDs say they would be open to supporting a minority Fine Gael government in order to avoid another election.

But many of the newcomers are completely opposed to a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail 'grand coalition' and insist Enda Kenny should be replaced as Taoiseach by Micheal Martin.

In an extraordinary election result for the party, 19 of the newly-elected Fianna Fail TDs were first-time candidates.

The election also saw the return of several older faces, including ex-TDs Eamon Scanlon, Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher and John Curran, as well as Seanad members Thomas Byrne, Marc MacSharry and Darragh O'Brien.

While a number of the party's veteran politicians have ruled out entering government with Fine Gael on civil war grounds, the party's newcomers insist their opposition relates to policy and public perception.

"Civil war politics never meant anything to me," Dublin South West TD John Lahart told the Herald.

"But we need to respect the message we heard loud and clear on the doorsteps - this government has been rejected," he added.

Cork North West TD Andrias Moynihan said the public have voted for Micheal Martin as Taoiseach.

"The people have clearly voted against this outfit. It would be wrong to force them to have them back in," he said.

Meanwhile, several first-time deputies - such as Pat Casey (Wicklow), Declan Breatnach (Louth), Eugene Murphy (Roscommon), Kevin O'Keeffe (Cork East) and James Lawless (Kildare North) - said they are open to supporting a minority Fine Gael government.

But all five insisted that this could only happen if a series of demands were met, including a substantial package for rural Ireland.

The Dail's youngest TD, Jack Chambers, said politicians must look to the example set in Nordic countries where government's are minority-based.

"I think fragmentation is here to stay. It would be an insult to the Irish people to go back to the polls just because what they chose doesn't suit what conventional-type politics wants."

The Fianna Fail parliamentary party is due to meet on Thursday, during which the formation of the next government is set to be discussed.

Party leader Micheal Martin has already begun phoning TDs following their election.

Mr Martin last night insisted there must be significant political reform in what is seen as his first public demand for any form of support for a Fine Gael minority government.

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