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Sunday 23 September 2018

FG's 'double standards' on SF deal

Brendan Howlin. Picture: Collins
Brendan Howlin. Picture: Collins
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Fine Gael has been accused of having double standards after cutting a deal with Sinn Féin on rules to appoint judges.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin says it is hard for anybody to believe a deal between the two parties is impossible after they did a deal on a core justice issue to keep Transport Minister Shane Ross onside.

The two parties came to an agreement in recent weeks on the introduction of sentencing guidelines and this led Sinn Féin to support the Government's bill in the Dáil. The bill, from Independent Alliance Minister Mr Ross, was one of his red-line issues during talks to form a Government.

"You have to judge them by their own standards and they've already cut a deal with Sinn Féin on a critical justice issue," Mr Howlin told the Irish Independent.

"They just cut a deal with Sinn Féin on judicial appointments, a bill that none of them believes in. It is just to keep Minister Ross [onside] and part of the deal is to implement Sinn Féin policy on restricting the sentencing freedom of the judiciary.

"In the circumstances, nobody could believe they would be incapable of cutting a deal with Sinn Féin on anything - including going into government.

"If they have voting pacts and legislative pacts, it would be a simple matter for them to cut a deal on going into government."

Junior Minister Patrick Donovan is the latest senior figure in Fine Gael to rule out going into business with Mary Lou McDonald's party, saying to do so would involve risking the security of the State.

Mr Donovan stood by his pledge that the two parties weare incompatible because they "fall at the first hurdle" due to Sinn Féin's stance on the Special Criminal Court (SCC).

Sinn Féin supports the dismantling of the court. There could be no coalition between the two because a government must stand firmly behind the institutions of the State, including its judiciary and there could be "no equivocation" on the matter of the SCC on behalf of any party looking to go into government, he said.

Irish Independent

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