Saturday 24 February 2018

'We told people no coalition and we're sticking to it' - Fianna Fáil

Glad: Mayo TD Lisa Chambers. Photo: Tom Burke
Glad: Mayo TD Lisa Chambers. Photo: Tom Burke

Cormac McQuinn and Nicola Anderson

Fianna Fáil TDs last night stood by their rejection of acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny's partnership government offer.

Galway West's Éamon Ó Cuív said: "I think it's now accepted or, at least I hope it is, that there will be no Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael coalition. Sometimes it takes a while for the truth to sink in.

"I noticed Enda Kenny is still clinging forlornly to the hope that that's going to happen but it's not going to happen."

He said that Fianna Fáil has maintained its "integrity" by upholding its pledge not to enter a grand coalition with Fine Gael.

Mr O Cuív added: "I think the chance of an election now has gone down dramatically since last night."

He said another election would have been required if party leader Micheál Martin had agreed to Mr Kenny's offer because it would have gone against the mandate the party received.

He said he didn't know if Mr Martin can win enough support too lead a minority government but "we'll continue to work in that direction".

Mayo deputy Lisa Chambers said she was "glad" the party hasn't changed its position on coalition with Fine Gael.

"We told people we weren't going to do that and we're sticking to that," she said.

She said that Fianna Fáil will be "responsible" and will "do what we can to work with" a Fine Gael minority government if that's the outcome that emerges.

However, she warned that her party expects Fine Gael to "be responsible as well" if Mr Martin gets more support for a minority administration.

Deputy James Lawless said that Mr Kenny's proposals were "sprung on us".

"I think that really what we need to get beyond in this country is a bit of an obsession with majority government at all costs," the Kildare North TD said, adding that government should "engage all sides"

Meanwhile, in something of a minority view in the party, Kildare South TD Fiona O'Loughlin said while her preferred option wasn't coalition with Fine Gael, she "felt the idea of a partnership merited more discussion".

"An opportunity to play a 50pc role and have an input into policies was important and had more merit than supporting the government from the side lines," she said.

Irish Independent

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