Friday 24 May 2019

Michael Noonan: We may not be able to reach a deal with Fianna Fail

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan
Barry Lennon

Barry Lennon

Michael Noonan admits Fine Gael and Fianna Fail may not settle a deal to facilitate a new Government, increasing the chance of another election.

However, the Fine Gael Finance Minister says the parties are “optimistic” after talks have reached a stalemate over Irish Water yesterday.

“It's quite difficult but we're still talking and we're in an reasonably optimistic mindset. We may not be able to settle it and everybody knows the consequences of that,” he said before this morning's Cabinet meeting.

Read More: Crisis for Kenny as Fianna Fáil rejects offer on water charges

Talks are expected to continue later today after Fine Gael could not concede to Fianna Fail demands to suspend water charges for three to five years.

Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said he did not expect to be in a care taker Cabinet “60 days after the election.”

“I think most people are frustrated that we haven't brought a conclusion to the people's business,” he said.

His Labour party colleague and Environment Minister Alan Kelly hit out at Fianna Fail's call to scrap Irish Water, saying “some people are talking in a vacuum.”

“Look at Fianna Fail, their environmental spokesman Barry Cowen has never actually sat down with the people in Irish Water. Do they know what they're talking about? ” he said.

“Frankly speaking, I find it incredible that an issue like this is holding up Government-formation.”

Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill, who also from Mr Kelly's Tipperary constituency, said the Minister “should not preach to us.”

“Labour, Sinn Fein and Fine Gael have an enough to form a Government,” Mr Cahill added.

His party colleague from Wexford, James Browne said it was “hard to find a route through” the Irish Water stalemate.

“I think we're very close to second election. Most people are getting prepared for an election just in case. You always have to be ready for an election in Ireland just in case.”

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