How Micheál Martin won sweetest deal in FF history
Published 05/05/2016 | 02:30
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is being credited with securing a stunning victory over Fine Gael in the government formation talks.
The deal to back the minority government saw a series of Fianna Fáil election promises included completely in the deal.
But Mr Martin's party won't have to take any responsibility for unpopular decisions - and can pull the plug on Enda Kenny's weak administration at any time.
Fianna Fáil TDs believe they can tell supporters they are the most powerful Opposition party ever and have delivered "massive value" for their votes.
Fine Gael caved in to Fianna Fáil demands on water charges, USC cuts, housing, and crime.
The party's finance spokesman Michael McGrath told the Irish Independent: "Never again will an Opposition party have as much influence as Fianna Fáil will in the current Dáil."
Meanwhile, the planned suspension of water charges has resulted in thousands of Irish Water customers cancelling bill payments.
A flood of direct debits have been cancelled in the last number of weeks as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were embroiled in government talks, the Irish Independent has learned.
Irish Water is refusing to release the exact figures, but sources say up to 80pc of all calls now involve customer queries over repayments, cancellations and refunds.