Tuesday 21 May 2019

Fianna Fail dismisses Sinn Fein offer of talks over Government formation as 'insincere'

Michael McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Michael McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke

Ralph Riegel

FIANNA Fail has dismissed Sinn Fein's offer of talks over the possible formation of a Government as "insincere."

Fianna Fail finance spokesman, Michael McGrath TD, rejected the overture from Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and stressed that his party's priority remains negotiating a deal to allow for a Fine Gael-led minority Government.

Mr Adams said he would be willing to talk to both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail over the formation of a minority Government.

However, he said Sinn Fein had been contacted by neither party.

Mr Adams added he would be willing to call a special ard fheis if such co-operation appeared in the national interest.

However, Mr McGrath emphatically dismissed the Sinn Fein leader's comments as mere "window dressing."

The Cork TD is a key part of Fianna Fail's negotiating team with Fine Gael.

"I don't believe the Sinn Fein offer is a sincere one," he said.

"I think Sinn Fein has been taking a huge amount of criticism over the past number of weeks for not being involved and for not trying to get involved in the formation of Government."

"I think they are just ticking the box and are covering themselves that they made a last ditch effort to become involved in talks around Government formation."

"I don't believe it is in any way (sincere)."

The Cork TD pointed out that, to his knowledge, no-one in Fianna Fail had been contacted by Sinn Fein over Mr Adams comments.

Mr McGrath said their priority was bringing the protracted talks with Fianna Fail to a successful conclusion.

"The talks have gone on longer than anyone expected," he said.

"Certainly longer than I would have anticipated between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Ultimately, our aim is to enable or facilitate a Fine Gael-led minority Government."

"When we have concluded our talks, hopefully successfully, they will have to then win over the support of the independents to form a Government hopefully over the coming days."

"The sooner all of this is completed the better."

"There are obviously issues to be resolved. It is not just water, by the way. I know that water takes up all of the media attention."

"Obviously, it is a very important issue. But there are other important areas of policy where we are looking for the Government to agree that they will take policy in a certain direction in relation to housing, supporting families with mortgages and of course water remains a key outstanding issue."

Sinn Fein's Cork TD Donncha O'Laoghaire warned that more needed to be done to allow the Dail function properly while the Fianna Fail-Fine Gael talks are continuing.

"It is very frustrating that the Government is not allowing discussion on legislation to progress. They are holding the Dail to ransom."

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