Wednesday 18 September 2019

Fine Gael targets 60 Dáil seats as part of 'rainbow coalition'

  

Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Fine Gael has set its sights on more than 60 seats in the Dáil after the next general election and will look to put together a rainbow coalition to form a government.

While Brexit turmoil has postponed the threat of an election in the short term, the Taoiseach has said he could not absolutely rule out one next year. Election planning in Fine Gael is at an advanced stage, with candidate selection undertaken in all but one constituency - Roscommon-Galway.

Tanáiste Simon Coveney has said that more than 60 seats is a "credible" target. He once again ruled Sinn Féin out as a coalition partner and also said a coalition with Fianna Fáil was "unlikely".

"I think you are more likely to see, hopefully, a strong Fine Gael coming out of the next election, looking to build a partnership and an alliance with other parties where we share agendas and that we want to complete together," he said. "Certainly I'd like to be part of that. It is no secret, by the way, that before the last government was formed I would have been a very strong advocate for a very strong rainbow coalition with parties like the Labour Party and the Greens as part of that. It didn't happen.

"Who knows, maybe it will happen after the next election. I wouldn't take any of the other parties for granted, this will be a matter for parties to decide their priorities, what they want after the next election and we will have to see what the numbers dictate."

Asked whether Fine Gael would underwrite Fianna Fáil with a Confidence and Supply Agreement, he said that would be a decision for the party leader.

Irish Independent

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