Friday 19 January 2018

Fine Gael 'willing to talk about water' following dramatic u-turn on pre-election pledge ruling out business with Fianna Fail

Micheal Martin and Enda Kenny now face the prospect of forming a coalition
Micheal Martin and Enda Kenny now face the prospect of forming a coalition
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has indicated Fine Gael's willingness to budge on water charges.

Speaking on RTÉ's 'Primetime', Mr Coveney said Fine Gael would "certainly be willing to talk about water" in a clear move to woo Fianna Fáil support for a joint administration.

Simon Coveney Photo: Arthur Carron Photography
Simon Coveney Photo: Arthur Carron Photography

"We need to take on board, within reasons, what they are looking for," he added.

Earlier today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny performed a humiliating u-turn on his pre-election pledge ruling out doing business with Fianna Fáil.

And Fine Gael descended into a state of farce this evening after the party was forced to backtrack on a statement from Mr Kenny which said he is open to entering Government with every party and independent TD in the Dáil.

Following a dramatic day which saw the blame game within Fine Gael intensify, Mr Kenny released a statement which opened the door to every party, including Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.

“Despite the disappointing outcome of the election, which did not return the outgoing Fine Gael – Labour Government, Fine Gael will be the largest group in the new Dáil and we are determined to play our part in providing the Irish people with a Government committed to working on their behalf,” Mr Kenny said.

“We will engage fully and inclusively with other parties, groups and independent deputies to ensure that such a Government is established,” he added.

The statement represented an extraordinary departure from the position adopted throughout the campaign.

Mr Kenny and all other senior Fine Gael figures insisted they would not form a coalition that involved either Fianna Fail or Sinn Fein.

But the statement, released just after 7pm, represents a total u-turn by Mr Kenny, whose own position within Fine Gael is being seriously questioned.

However, just hours after the statement was released, a spokesman for the Taoiseach claimed the statement does not include Sinn Fein.

Therefore, it’s believed the remarks by the Taoiseach represent a clear signal to Micheal Martin to do business.

In a blow to Mr Kenny, senior Fianna Fail sources labelled his statement as “desperate”.

Sinn Fein also insisted it would not do business with Fine Gael

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