FF newbies in favour of deal with Fine Gael
Published 01/03/2016 | 02:30
A significant number of Fianna Fáil'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 Fáil 'grand coalition' and insist that Enda Kenny should be replaced as Taoiseach by Micheál Martin.
In an extraordinary election result, some 19 of the newly elected Fianna Fáil 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 traditional grounds, the party's newcomers insist that their opposition relates to policy and public perception.
"Civil War politics never meant anything to me," said Dublin South West TD John Lahart. "But we need to respect the message we heard loud and clear on the doorsteps - this Government has been rejected,"
Cork North West TD Aindrias Moynihan said: "The people have clearly voted against this outfit. It would be wrong to try force the public to have them back in."
Meanwhile, several first-time deputies - such as Pat Casey (Wicklow), Declan Breathnach (Louth) Eugene Murphy (Roscommon), Kevin O'Keeffe (Cork East) and James Lawless (Kildare North) - said they were open to supporting a minority Fine Gael government.
However, all five insisted that this could happen only if a series of demands were met, including a substantial package for rural Ireland.
The Dáil's youngest TD, Jack Chambers, said politicians must look to the example set in Nordic countries, where governments are minority-based.
He explained: "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 that conventional type of politics."
The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party is due to meet on Thursday, during which the formation of the next government is set to be discussed.
Party leader Micheál Martin has already begun phoning around the party's TDs following their election.