Andrews attacks Confidence and Supply deal in his first speech after securing FF candidacy for European poll
Former minister Barry Andrews has used his first speech as a party candidate for the European elections to call time on the Confidence and Supply arrangement.
The Dún Laoghaire politician won a hotly contested selection convention last night, beating fellow ex-ministers Mary Hanafin and Conor Lenihan, and LGBT activist Tiernan Brady.
Speaking to delegates immediately after the vote, Mr Andrews strayed from the party line on the Confidence and Supply agreement to say that it should end as soon as there is clarity on Brexit.
He said the "overwhelming message" during the husting was that it could not be sustained for much longer.
Party leader Micheál Martin has signed up to keeping Fine Gael in power for one more budget.
However, Mr Andrews said there was now a "real frustration" within Fianna Fáil and that once there was clarity on Brexit "the logic of the extension of this arrangement really will evaporate very quickly".
Quizzed by reporters afterwards, Mr Andrews said: "There's no question of collapsing the Government through the fog of Brexit."
But he added: "I would say there would have to be a serious question about that [propping the Government up for Budget 2020]. I'm not sure that we can maintain this for another budget." More than 800 delegates voted at the convention yesterday, which party chiefs believe is evidence of a revival in the capital.
Fianna Fáil has not had a Dublin MEP since Eoin Ryan lost his seat in 2009.
Mr Andrews received 340 first preferences, followed by Ms Hanafin with 199.
Tiernan Brady, the only contestant not have served as a minister, finished third with 191. Conor Lenihan got 108.
Mr Lenihan gave a passionate speech after the result, in which he called on party members to "put those posh boys out of office".
He said: "There'll be a general election very soon and we have to be in a position in Europe and at local level to take them out. The confidence is not there. Competence is not there."
He said Fianna Fáil needed to "win the next general election and bring proper government back to this country".
Ms Hanafin, who has been involved in constituency disputes with Mr Andrews in the past, said she would be fully behind him in the campaign.
Mr Brady said the competition to be on the ticket was "a real warning shot to anybody who thinks they are going to take us on this May".
Fianna Fáil chiefs will be pleased with Mr Andrews's nomination - but the level of anxiety over Confidence and Supply will be a concern. Deputy leader Dara Calleary told the convention at Lansdowne Rugby Club: "We're wearing the Ireland jersey in the way that it has been worn with pride on these grounds for many years. We have to put the Irish jersey on and get the best deal for Ireland over the course of the next 40 days."
Kildare TD Fiona O'Loughlin, who chaired the event, said there was "more supply than confidence in the current arrangement. But to suggest that our esteemed leader Micheál Martin could walk away from Confidence and Supply would be to suggest that he should act like Jeremy Corbyn over in Westminster."