Friday 30 September 2016

'Rural Alliance' rule out 'local deals' in Fine Gael negotiations

Published 23/03/2016 | 13:35

Independent deputies, from left, Denis Naughten, Dr Michael Harty, Mattie McGrath, Noel Grealish and Michael Collins who met with the Fianna Fáil negotiators at Leinster House yesterday. Photo Tom Burke
Independent deputies, from left, Denis Naughten, Dr Michael Harty, Mattie McGrath, Noel Grealish and Michael Collins who met with the Fianna Fáil negotiators at Leinster House yesterday. Photo Tom Burke

The so-called ‘Rural Alliance’ has ruled out striking “local deals” as part of any government negotiations with Fine Gael.

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The five deputies make the pledge following a two-hour meeting with Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings.

The group said that the meeting was about “building trust” with Fine Gael with the view to forming a Programme for Government that could last for five years. But they refused to give any indication as to their voting intentions ahead of of April 6.

The TDs involved in the loose alliance are Denis Naughten (Roscommon), Mattie McGrath (Tipperary), Dr Michael Harty (Clare), Noel Grealish (Galway West) and Michael Collins (Cork South West).

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr McGrath ruled out agreeing local deals for their constituencies.

“What will be the point of any of us doing a local deal. We are ruling out that, because what would be the point if we haven’t a programme for the Dáil, alongside the Dáil reform in a partnership arrangement that can deliver stability in the Dail,” he said.

Mr Naughten, seen as the defacto leader of the alliance, said that the issues that need to be addressed are the same across all constituencies, particularly those outside of Dublin.

He cited infrastructure, jobs, health, roads and rural decline among others.

“It’s the exact same in Donegal, Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Roscommon, Clare, Galway - there’s no difference in it,” he said.

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