Thursday 14 December 2017

Senior politicians concede there won't be a left-wing government

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Senior left-wing politicians have conceded that there is little chance of a left-wing government being formed.

Joint Social Democrats leader Catherine Murphy, Ruth Coppinger of AAA/PBP and former Sinn Féin TD Pádraig McLochlainn said they don't foresee a left-wing bloc forming a government on this occasion.

Parties of the left commanded 30pc of the first preference vote, while a number of Independents with left-wing views were also returned.

"I just don't think the numbers are there," said Kildare North TD Ms Murphy, adding: "There are wide differences within that group as well."

She said she will meet with her colleagues Róisín Shortall and Stephen Donnelly to "look at what role we'll play".

"Our natural inclination will be to build alliances towards developing positive outcomes on things like housing and health," she added.

Ms Murphy acted as the whip of the technical group in the last Dáil to secure more speaking time.

"We would maximise the opportunities in the Dáil in the same way as we did the last time," she said.

Ms Coppinger said that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will have around 90 seats between them "so there isn't a prospect of an anti-establishment-left government on this occasion".

"On this occasion, we obviously didn't get the change that we need," she added.

However, she said she still believes there is a "big aspiration" for change, citing the anti-water charges campaign.

Mr McLochlainn, who failed to hang on to his seat in Donegal, said he believed Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael should form a government.

"From Sinn Féin's perspective, we were very clear - unless we were the largest party, we would not go into government," he told RTÉ Radio. He said his party is willing to work with people on the left, but accused some other left-wing politicians of not wanting to be in government. He said Sinn Féin does want to be in government. "Unfortunately in this election, it looks like we don't have the numbers but I hope in the near future we will," he added.

Meanwhile, left-wing Waterford Independent TD John Halligan said he believes "there's a responsibility on all of us to bring some sort of stability. I don't think the electorate would accept another election. I think it'd be a damn on all your houses."

Mr Halligan said the "easiest coalition on ideology should be Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael...but because of Civil War politics, it's unlikely to happen". Warning of international threats to the economy, he said: "We're going to need stability for the sake of the country and it's going to be up to everybody."

Irish Independent

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