Wednesday 13 December 2017

Noonan warns Fine Gael TDs they can expect another election inside next two years

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Photo: Tony Gavin
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Photo: Tony Gavin

Niall O’Connor and John Downing

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has told the party’s 49 other TDs that they can expect another election inside the next two years.

Mr Noonan was speaking at the first meeting of Fine Gael’s much depleted parliamentary party since last Friday’s general election.

The veteran Limerick city TD said the Dáil numbers meant another election was likely soon – as any coalition.

The meeting heard serious criticisms of the party’s general election campaign with deputies, including Galway West TD, Sean Kyne, saying their message had been poor and inflexible.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney apologised to colleagues for appearing to suggest on RTE television on Tuesday that the future of the Irish Water company and water charges was open to question in any talks about a future coalition.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told his party colleagues that he would begin methodically discussing coalition options with various parties and groups.

Several TDs insisted that there can be no change in the water charge regime – some of them said they had “suffered enough” in the election and the views of the almost 60pc who had paid the charges must be taken into account.

Mr Kenny also told the meeting he will set up a parliamentary party committee which will be tasked with engaging with other political parties and Independents about forming a government.

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