Sunday 11 December 2016

Ministers fear Halligan may pull his support

Published 04/06/2016 | 02:30

Waterford TD John Halligan. Photo: Tom Burke
Waterford TD John Halligan. Photo: Tom Burke

Ministers are to intensify their efforts to win the support of Independent TDs who did not vote for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach amid growing concerns about the Government's wafer-thin majority.

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Senior Fine Gael figures say they have pinpointed a number of TDs as potential "replacements" in the event of Independent ministers pulling their support for the minority Government.

These are Galway West TD Noel Grealish, Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice and Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath.

There is particular concern about strength of the support being offered by Waterford TD John Halligan, who was last month appointed a junior minister in the Department of Enterprise.

Members of Mr Halligan's own Independent Alliance have also privately expressed doubt over whether he will remain part of the Government for the "long haul".

The concern over whether the Government will last was heightened this week following its defeat during a vote over a Labour Party bill on workers' rights.

"We have no choice but to build a replacement strategy especially given some of the soundings from the likes of John Halligan," said one senior party source. Mr Halligan did not respond to calls yesterday.

It has also emerged Mr Kenny held a discussion with Michael Harty on Thursday as Fine Gael prepares to vote for the Clare TD for the position of health chair.

Dr Harty sparked serious concern within Government circles after claiming last week that he never committed to full-time support of the minority administration.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Independent Alliance Minister Finian McGrath said he would like to see a number of other Independents join the Government.

"I am all in favour of bringing in new Independents which would go towards making the Government broader and more stable," the Dublin Bay North TD said.

Irish Independent

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