Friday 25 May 2018

Fine Gael TDs told to bite back at Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Fine Gael TDs have been told to ramp up attacks on Fianna Fáil even though such a move is likely to bring the country closer to a general election.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told a private party meeting last night that promises being made by the Opposition party needed to be "called out".

It marks a new low in ­relations between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil amid speculation as to whether the two parties can renegotiate the confidence and supply arrangement later this year.

Sources say Mr Varadkar warned that Fianna Fáil was "promising everything to ­everyone at present".

The Taoiseach said he had kept a list of all Fianna Fáil's demands, saying education requests in the past fortnight alone would have cost €250m.

He said the demands for a package to help farmers ­affected by the fodder crisis would have cost €200m.

TDs and senators were told that Micheál Martin would ­ultimately either renege on such promises or "actually bankrupt the country again".

Relations between the two largest parties in the Dáil have been deteriorating for some weeks. Fine Gael is ­particularly annoyed at Mr Martin for ­criticising the Government's approach to the ongoing Brexit negotiations. A speech he made at a 1916 commemoration event in Arbour Hill last weekend "was the final straw" for some TDs.

In it, Mr Martin lashed out at Fine Gael for failing to fix the housing and health crises. He said Mr Varadkar's team "have over-spun and under-delivered in nearly every policy".

But Fine Gael TDs have now been given the green light to stage a political fightback.

Meanwhile, Independent ­Alliance TD Sean Canney met Mr Varadkar yesterday to ­discuss his rift with other members of the group.

The Galway East TD is ­considering leaving the Alliance in a row over a ministry with Kevin 'Boxer' Moran - but it's understood he may continue to back the Government.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section