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Green Party, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael vote in favour of historic government deal

The three parties have paved the way for Micheál Martin to be elected as Taoiseach tomorrow

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Fianna Fail leader and Taoiseach in waiting Micheal Martiin at the Clayton Burlington Hotel where the party voted in favour of government. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Fianna Fail leader and Taoiseach in waiting Micheal Martiin at the Clayton Burlington Hotel where the party voted in favour of government. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Fianna Fail leader and Taoiseach in waiting Micheal Martiin at the Clayton Burlington Hotel where the party voted in favour of government. Picture; Gerry Mooney

THE Green Party's members have voted in favour of the party entering government, paving the way for a historic coalition, and for Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin to be elected Taoiseach tomorrow.

After almost 100 years of Civil War politics, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will go into government together for the first time after both parties confirmed their members had approved the deal earlier today.

There had been massive apprehension about the result from the Green Party which needed a majority of two-thirds of those who voted to approve the Programme for Government.

In the end the result was 1,435 in favour of going into government with 457 against, a majority of 76pc.

Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar is destined for the Tánaiste's office and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan can expect a senior ministry.

Top of the new government's agenda will be the recovery from the coronavirus health and economic emergencies, tackling the housing crisis, and ramping up Ireland's efforts to fight climate change.

After the result was announced, Mr Ryan said he was inspired by climate strikers who believe another future is possible.

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 Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

He said: "The biggest challenge of all is to restore biodiversity and stop the madness that climate change will bring if it's let go unchecked.

"That's our job in government. That's what we've been voted in to do."

Deputy leader Catherine Martin said some Green Party members will be disappointed by the result and she said their concerns are valued.

She said: "You can be assured we will work every day to ensure this government will deliver for all the people of Ireland."

Ms Martin said that as "committed environmentalists" - fully aware of the clock ticking in the "battle for our planet's future" - the Green Party "cannot afford to turn down opportunity and the responsibility presented to us."

She said Ireland has suffered "untold heart break" and economic loss in the coronavirus crisis and "at this most difficult time" the country is "crying out for stable government".

"The Green Party is stepping up to serve this country" and is "putting people before politics" and will be "hitting the ground running," she pledged.

She said trust must be built with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and that many Greens will be sceptical about governing with the two parties.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after announcing that Fine Gael members have voted in favour of the programme for government agreed with Fianna Fail and the Green Party, in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after announcing that Fine Gael members have voted in favour of the programme for government agreed with Fianna Fail and the Green Party, in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after announcing that Fine Gael members have voted in favour of the programme for government agreed with Fianna Fail and the Green Party, in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

Ms Martin said there are some in the larger parties that aren't "overjoyed" with the Green Party being in government.

She said "We will ensure this government is one of mutual respect, cooperation, good faith and trust that is committed to all the people of Ireland.

Earlier today, 74pc of Fianna Fail members voted in favour of the programme. The final vote showed 8,194 voting in favour while 2,864 voted against.

There was strong support for the deal in Mr Martin’s constituency of Cork South Central with 94pc of party members voting in favour.

The constituency is also the home of Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath.

There was also a high vote in favour (93pc) in Dublin constituencies including Dublin Fingal where the party’s housing spokesperson Darragh O’Brien hopes to land a cabinet seat tomorrow.

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26/06/2020 Fine Gaels counting of ballots at the party’s headquarters at Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2 .
Pic Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

26/06/2020 Fine Gaels counting of ballots at the party’s headquarters at Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2 . Pic Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

26/06/2020 Fine Gaels counting of ballots at the party’s headquarters at Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2 . Pic Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

Dublin North West, where Paul McAullife is the local TD, and Dublin South Central where the party does not have a Dáil deputy voted in favour of the deal by more than 90pc.

Fianna Fail TD Jack Chambers constituency of Dublin West also voted of the deal by more than 90pc.

The only constituency to vote against the deal was Galway West (64pc) which is the home Eamon O Cuiv who was vehemently against going into government with Fine Gael and the Green Party.

Speaking after his party endorsed the deal, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said it had been an “energetic debate” at all levels of the party on the deal. “I think we’re much the better from that exercise and from that energy,” he said.

Mr Martin said democracy in Fianna Fáil is “alive and well” and that he was “delighted” that his recommendation had been “so overwhelmingly endorsed”.

“What it says to me is that the vast majority of the party are very anxious that we get on with the business of helping the country to get through this crisis.”

He said it was critical to get people back to work and to “create a better type of society and a better quality of life”.

Mr Martin said the next government would face many challenges and the gravity of the situation could not be overstated.

He said he had “more or less” agreed the structure of new government departments and the allocation of ministries with the outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

He confirmed that as Taoiseach he would nominate an Attorney General to serve for the next two-and-a-half years after which Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar will have the option to nominate a new AG when the Taoiseach's office rotates.

Mr Martin said that “ability and geography and quite a range of factors” would inform his Cabinet appointments.

He confirmed he spoke to a number of Independent TDs on Friday about the possibility of them supporting him in the vote for Taoiseach - but declined to say whether he had secured their backing.

The deal was rejected by party members in the Galway West constituency of Eamon Ó Cuív, the former Fianna Fáil deputy leader. Mr Martin said he spoke to Mr Ó Cuív earlier. “I thanked them for their campaign and I thanked them for the very respectful democratic manner in which the campaign was conducted. Democracy in our party is alive and well,” he said.

The Fine Gael result revealed that 80pc of their party members backed the deal and 20pc rejected entering into government with the two parities. In parliamentary party, 90pc of members voted Yes while 10pc voted No.

The vote was tighter among Fine Gael councillors with 57pc supporting the government agreement and some 43pc voting against it.

The party’s executive council backed the deal by 85pc while those delegated who were selected from constituency organisations supported it by 71pc.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the result showed that Fine Gael would enter a third term in government and a new coalition "united and strong and up for the challenge."

Fine Gael colleagues will have to wait until tomorrow to learn whether or not they will be in Cabinet as Mr Varadkar said he wouldn't be making the calls tonight.

He said of the prospect of returning to government: "I’m looking forward to helping to get the country through the Covid emergency, particularly getting people back to work, getting businesses open and pursuing some of the reforms and changes that we got started in the last couple of years."

Online Editors