Thursday 22 February 2018

Wicklow: Anne Ferris disappointed that Wicklow will be without a female voice in the Dáil

Anne Ferris. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Anne Ferris. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Billy Timmins and Terence Flanagan at the launch of Renua’s proposals on Dail reform. Photo: Damien Eagers
Stephen Donnelly T.D is congratulated by supporters at the Shoreline Centre, Greystones, Wicklow
Fine Gael's Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke

Alan O'Keeffe

Anne Ferris is upset that Wicklow will have no females TD in the next Dáil, and that the constituency will be without its traditional representation of a Labour deputy.

The well-known TD lost her seat alongside Renua Ireland's Billy Timmins.

They were replaced in the Dail by Bray Sinn Fein Councillor John Brady and Fianna Fail councillor and hotelier from Glendalough Pat Casey.

Fine Gael's Andrew Doyle and Fianna Fail's Casey both said last night they had no objections to their two parties entering into a coalition government together.

Doyle, speaking of the possibility of coalition, said: "The first thing we have to do is decide what the Fine Gael parliamentary party policies are. We feel they are not for compromise.

"The manifestos for parties that go into coalition are never the same but there are points of contention that we'll all have to stick to our guns on.

"Publicly, I think the parliamentary party needs to discipline itself, sit down, and talk about what it is that we want. We have come too far and have had too much hardship and sacrifice to blow it on an auction programme for government.

"I would be very wary of us blowing the achievements so far. We're still in a fragile state. I want to be part of a government that will work and if I can get other people as committed to it as I believe we need to be then lets do it now."

He said he believed that Fianna Fail was "not outside the fold" of parties that Fine Gael could work with in a coalition.

Fianna Fail debutante TD Pat Casey said he would have no objection to a coalition with Fine Gael with conditions.

"I think it has to be looked at. We can't rule anything out. We have to act responsibly and we need to sit down and look at what's on the table and what's off the table. There are  differences between the two parties so they would have to be overcome.

"I've no real objection to it but this is not for the parliamentary party to decide. It is actually for the full membership of the party.

"I've given you my view but I'd have to consult with the members of my own team and take their views on it.

"We do need a strong opposition and we would want to be careful that we don't create Sinn Fein as the only opposition party.

"But we do need to retain stability in the country and we're moving in the right direction and it's important that that's not put in jeopardy," he said.

"We need to sit down and look at it in the cold light of day. I'm not against it or say I'm in favour of it. I understand the situation the country is in at the moment and we have to make that our priority," he said.

Meanwhile, Social Democrats founder Stephen Donnelly topped the poll in contrast to his 2011 showing when he won the last seat after a marathon re-count battle with John Brady.

Fine Gael Junior Minister Simon Harris and Doyle bucked the national trend by retaining both seats for their party.

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