SF attempt to form Dail grouping hits snag before talks
THE first flashpoint between the two sides in a new Dail grouping was emerging last night -- even before the group has been formed.
Sinn Fein is hoping that Independent TDs Finian McGrath and Maureen O'Sullivan will join with them in a technical group in the Dail.
The party now has five TDs following the Donegal South-West by-election victory of Pearse Doherty last week.
It will get greater speaking rights if a technical group is formed, and Sinn Fein will then also be able to table a motion of 'no confidence' in Taoiseach Brian Cowen. It does not have enough seats in the Dail to do so at present.
The party has said it hopes to table such a motion but Mr McGrath said he would prefer a motion of no confidence in the Government rather than Mr Cowen personally.
Formal talks between the two sides are expected to open today, after Mr Doherty made his Dail maiden speech on a Fine Gael private member's motion on economic and political stability.
Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain said it was unlikely a no confidence motion would be tabled before Christmas.
Mr O Caolain said a technical group could work well, as it had done between 2002 and 2007 when Independents, Sinn Fein and the Green Party banded together.
"We haven't opened up direct contact or official approaches to any of the prospective others who may be a part of that but we understand explorative talks may get under way shortly," Mr O Caolain said.
Arriving in Leinster House, Mr Doherty said he had been "given a clear mandate to oppose the savage anti-people Budget the Government is planning".
The newest TD also said he would oppose social welfare cuts "IMF interference in Ireland" and he claimed that Sinn Fein was the only party in the Dail that was putting forward a "constructive alternative" for the future of the country.