Tuesday 21 November 2017

FF chief whip warns party is not afraid of an election

Moynihan says his TDs have no intention of 'taking s***' from Fine Gael in New Year

Whip: TD Michael Moynihan
Whip: TD Michael Moynihan

Philip Ryan Political Correspondent

FIANNA Fail has "no qualms" about going to the country if Fine Gael does not stop spinning against it in the New Year, the party's chief whip Michael Moynihan has warned.

In stinging comments, Mr Moynihan accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny's party of being the "ultimate spinners" and insisted Fianna Fail would not be "taking the same kind of s***" the Labour Party did while in coalition with Fine Gael.

"We have no qualms about contesting an election good, bad or indifferent but we certainly have no intention of staying around taking any type of nonsense from them," Mr Moynihan told the Sunday Independent.

As the threat of a general election next year looms, it can also be revealed Fianna Fail has added almost €500,000 to its war chest from its recent super draw.

However, Fine Gael is understood to have raised more than €800,000 to its coffers following the party's annual prize draw.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are anxious to avoid a general election next year but tensions between the minority Government partners have heightened following the political brinkmanship over the introduction of rent certainty measures by Housing Minister Simon Coveney.

Fianna Fail is widely seen as having lost the battle over rent to Fine Gael after Mr Coveney refused to budge on introducing the caps to cities and towns outside Cork and Dublin.

However, Mr Moynihan insisted Fine Gael would never have introduced any caps if Fianna Fail had not forced its TDs to consider the measures during Government negotiations after the general election in February.

"They are the ultimate spinners and everything has to be spun to their advantage," he said. "I don't think they grasp the reality that they now have to bring the Dail with them.

"They are arrogant and they have a fixation with trying to spin every story in the media and it isn't helped by the ongoing battle in Fine Gael for the leadership," he added.

Mr Moynihan also said Fine Gael should stop being "arrogant" and "believing they are a better class of people".

"Anybody who carefully studied what happened between 2011 and 2015 would know that Fine Gael are past masters at spin and they had no qualms about doing down the Labour Party in that government but we have no intention of taking that kind s***from them," he said.

"The bottom line is we have no intention whatsoever of staying around taking lectures from them.

"They are either serious about this partnership arrangement or they are not."

Mr Moynihan also represents Fianna Fail on the Oireachtas business committee, which was established to handle the pressures arising from the unique composition of the Dail after the general election.

However, the Fianna Fail TD believes the committee has resulted in senior civil servants prying power and responsibility away from politicians.

"It is now frowned upon if a decision is made by the business committee and it is subsequently not implemented by the Dail," he said.

"That is no way to be doing business. Ultimately the Dail runs its own business.

"The business committee is recommending the business of the week as agreed at a particular time.

"I believe our standing as politicians out within the communities is by how we conduct our business inside Leinster House and we should taking more ownership of our business in Leinster House and not be conceding power to senior civil servants."

Mr Moynihan dismissed so-called "new politics" as a "desperate phrase" and insisted the current Dail is "politics as usual" without a majority holding power.

Sunday Independent

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