independent

Saturday 21 October 2017

FF stance on coalition talks leaves TDs anxious

Irish general election...Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin, arrives with his wife Mary, at St Anthony's Boys Primary School in Ballinlough, Cork, as they cast their votes during the 2016 General Election. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 26, 2016. As the electorate increasingly turns away from mainstream parties to smaller factions and Independents, a hung parliament is widely predicted. See PA story IRISH Election. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire...A
Irish general election...Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin, arrives with his wife Mary, at St Anthony's Boys Primary School in Ballinlough, Cork, as they cast their votes during the 2016 General Election. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 26, 2016. As the electorate increasingly turns away from mainstream parties to smaller factions and Independents, a hung parliament is widely predicted. See PA story IRISH Election. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire...A

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Fianna Fáil TDs are becoming increasingly concerned that Micheál Martin and other senior figures have mismanaged the party's approach to government formation.

Mr Martin has held a series of meetings with colleagues during which he was warned Fianna Fáil politicians are "getting it in the neck" from constituents over the political impasse.

Several party sources have also expressed concern that a "rural-urban divide" is growing in relation to striking a deal with Fine Gael. A number of TDs based in urban areas say they are open to supporting a Fine Gael-led minority government - but their rural colleagues are far more cautious about such an arrangement.

One rural deputy said that he would not support any Fine Gael-led minority - but that he is open to discussing a 'grand coalition'.

As reported by the Irish Independent this week, several female TDs believe they are being sidelined when it comes to the negotiation process.

A number of sources said there is deep dissatisfaction that the appointment of the negotiation team and the Fianna Fáil delegation on political reform were made by party headquarters without consultation with the parliamentary party.

"The fact is we only found out who was on the committees through the media and that's just not acceptable," one source said.

During the course of a number of meetings with newly elected TDs this week, Mr Martin emphasised the need to remain patient with the progress of the talks.

But he was warned, according to a number of sources, that the public is getting anxious over the apparent stalemate.

"He told us we need to be patient and that the real action will happen next week. But he knows we are getting it in the neck," said one TD.

Last night, a senior party figure attributed the sense of concern being expressed to a lack of experience. "They have to sit tight and negotiations cannot happen in public."

Irish Independent

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