Sunday 11 December 2016

Minister is entitled to a free vote - but really should pick his battles

Published 23/11/2016 | 02:30

'In any case, given the controversies swirling around Mr Ross right now, he would be well advised to make love, not war with Fine Gael on this one.' Photo: Mark Condren
'In any case, given the controversies swirling around Mr Ross right now, he would be well advised to make love, not war with Fine Gael on this one.' Photo: Mark Condren

Shane Ross and Finian McGrath went into yesterday's Cabinet meeting with a legitimate expectation to a free vote on a Sinn Féin motion seeking a referendum on Ireland's neutrality.

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In fact they were probably surprised by the dogmatic response from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who was having none of it.

Less than a month ago as the Government attempted to kill off the feud over their differing views on how to approach the abortion issue, a statement was issued in which Fine Gael "acknowledged" that their Independent colleagues could exercise a free vote "on matters which are not addressed in the Programme for Partnership Government".

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