Monday 24 October 2016

Ross slams Varadkar for 'election posters' tweet as Dail to vote on Taoiseach

Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross Photo: Tom Burke
Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross Photo: Tom Burke

Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross has hit out at Fine Gael, saying his group will not negotiate with it “under threat” of another general election.

The Dublin-Rathdown TD  was criticising Health Minister Leo Varadkar after he posted a picture of his campaign posters on Twitter, writing they were “cleaned, counted, stored and ready to be deployed” again following February’s election.

Mr Ross said his group of Independents “would not take this threat” of a second election “seriously.”

“We’re not going to take that sort of nonsense from Varadkar or anybody else,” he said. “We won’t regard that as something we’ll respond to positively.”

Mr Ross denied it was “inevitable” there would be another election as TDs prepare to vote for a Taoiseach again tomorrow, with another unsuccessful result expected. Both his group and other Independents are set to abstain as neither Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny nor Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin appear to have enough support.

Tomorrow’s Dail session is just the third day it has sat since it was dissolved on February 3.

Mr Ross criticised the two biggest parties for not speaking to one another. He and other Independent TDs said they shared the “public’s frustration” as government-forming negotiations continue more than a month after polling day.


“You’d need the patience of Saint Job to put up with what’s going on (with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail) and their refusal to meet until next Wednesday,” he added.

Mr Ross’s colleague and Waterford TD John Halligan said the Independent Alliance would not shy away from another general election this year if it came about.

“We’re not afraid of another election,” he said. “The people have already spoken. It is unfair to go back to the people and say, ‘We don’t like how you voted’, but if we have to face the electorate we’re prepared to face them.”

Meanwhile, Independent TD Mattie McGrath also hit out at Mr Varadkar before talks yesterday, saying his tweet was “an attempt to frighten” other politicians.

“Of all the people in the talks – and I’m not breaking confidence here – he was the most disinterested. Perhaps preparing his tweets. It’s pathetic,” he said. “Behaviour like that from a senior minister. It would be better for him to sort out the trolley crisis or do something with the HSE, rather than pitching his posters. He must have a lonely life.

“Maybe the poll (showing public support for Micheal Martin) might have had something to do with it. He might have fancied himself as Taoiseach,” Mr McGrath added.

Kerry Independent Michael Healy-Rae added “the posters already got their airing this year”.

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