Tuesday 6 December 2016

Rural Five tell Fine Gael to 'get off the fence' and speak to one another

Barry Lennon

Published 24/03/2016 | 13:00

The rural Independent deputies from left..Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Denis Naughten, Dr.Michael Harty and Michael Collins. Photo: Tom Burke
The rural Independent deputies from left..Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Denis Naughten, Dr.Michael Harty and Michael Collins. Photo: Tom Burke

Five Independent TDs who pledged support to Enda Kenny said Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have to “get off the fence" and speak to one another.

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The so-called “rural five's” Michael Collins said a Fine Gael minority Government would need the help of the second biggest party.

Mr Collins said his group “acted responsibly” as he prepared to meet Fine Gael with 16 other TDs to discuss a potential programme for Government this morning.

Mr Collins said “all doors remained open” for the group despite pledging to vote for Mr Kenny as Taoiseach and failing to make a deal with Fianna Fail this week.

“We have not nailed our colours to the mast with anyone,” he said.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney, who is part of the Fine Gael team to negotiate a deal with Independents accepted he would have to speak to Fianna Fáil.

But added there was a “difference.”

Read more: Rural Five 'call FG and FF bluff' in effort to become kingmakers

“There's a difference between the discussions you need to have between people you want to be in Government with and parties you may look for support from in opposition,” Mr Coveney said.

Independent Alliance's Shane Ross said the rural five have “not stolen a march” on his group by supporting Mr Kenny.

Mr Ross said: “they just asked for a meeting with Fine Gael. Nothing more.”

Michael Healy-Rae slammed Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for not talking to one another, telling them “to grow up”

A visibly bruised Mr Healy-Rae Fine said he was recovering well after cow attacked him on his farm this week.

His brother Danny insisted he was not pledging allegiance to Fine Gael after the two Kerry Independent TDs falied to strike a deal with Fianna Fáil last week.

He said that there was “always going to be another election”adding “it's only a question of when.”

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