Monday 18 December 2017

Fianna Fáil warned it would share blame if Government falls

Communications Minister Denis Naughten gave the warning in Athlone. Photo: Tom Burke
Communications Minister Denis Naughten gave the warning in Athlone. Photo: Tom Burke
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Government ministers have warned Fianna Fáil it will ultimately be answerable to the people if it causes an election by blocking key Government priorities.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten gave the warning in Athlone, where he attended the Postmasters' Union Conference in the Sheraton Hotel.

However, he was quick to stress he wasn't rejoining his old party for their meeting.

Asked about media reports that Fianna Fáil planned to block key Government policies, including USC cuts, Mr Naughten said a minority Government could work only if there was cooperation across the Dáil. "Fianna Fáil can take this approach if they so wish and we'll be back on the doorsteps within a couple of weeks' time," he said.

"But they're going to have to be the ones that will explain to the public why they're not prepared to give this Government an opportunity to work," he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny conceded "there will be rows" between the parties, "but we have an agreement and I will honour that agreement.

"I said to Micheál Martin and to others, good faith and no surprises, and we will supply the information and consult where that is appropriate and where that is necessary," he added.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar insisted the Government would press ahead with its proposals, while Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald described the Fianna Fáil stance as unhelpful for stability.

"If Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin come together, as they would have to vote something down, it's up to them to explain to the public why they didn't support our proposals because the only proposals we're going to put forward are the ones we believe are in the interests of the people," said Mr Varadkar.

He said he didn't believe there would be the same level of legislation passed in this Dáil as by previous governments.

Irish Independent

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