Saturday 26 May 2018

'I operate on Kerry time, not Dublin time' - Michael Healy Rae tells Enda Kenny during new Government negotiations

Independent TD Michael Healy Rae Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Independent TD Michael Healy Rae Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny has clashed with Independent TD Michael Healy Rae over the start time of negotiations aimed at forming a new Government.

Mr Healy Rae told the Fine Gael leader: “I operate on Kerry time, not Dublin time” during lengthy discussions at Government Buildings today.

The Kerry deputy became animated after his proposals to start talks tomorrow at 6am were rejected.

But it was Mr Healy Rae who later announced on Twitter that Mr Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin are to finally meet after tomorrow’s vote for Taoiseach.

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Frank McGrath
Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Frank McGrath

“I welcome the fact that the Taoiseach has confirmed he will meet with Deputy Micheal Martin of Fianna Fáil tomorrow,” he said on his twtter account.

Sources have revealed that Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath asked if he could also attend the talks between the two parties.

Mr Kenny is said to have declined but pledged to keep him “fully informed”.

The colourful exchanges have taken place today as Fine Gael published its government proposals.

The party has pledged to spend €50m on reducing hospital waiting lists, the appointment of a new Housing Minister within 100 days and the setting up of a review into rural garda stations.

The measures are contained in a 122 page document entitled “A New Partnership Government” that has been circulated to Independent TDs ahead of tomorrow’s vote for Taoiseach.

The document covers 16 areas, from health and justice to rural Ireland and transport.

Fine Gael figures hope it will form the basis of a programme for Government.

Among the measures include



•The establishment of an Oireachtas Budget office and the rolling of budgets with an impact over a three year horizon

•Citizen’s convention to examine the Eighth Amendment.



•New Cabinet minister for Housing and Action Plan for Housing within 100 days

•35,000 new social housing units: 18,000 by end of 2017 and the remaining 17,000 by end of 2020

•500 new rapid housing units

•Work with the Oireachtas to implement plan to reduce VAT from 13.5pc to 9pc on a temporary basis for new homes



New Cabinet minister for Rural Ireland

The development of a new Atlantic Economic Corridor

Next generation broadband for every home and business by 2020

No closures of rural schools



€50m for reducing waiting times

Extension of Breastcheck for all women from 65 to 69

Increasing number of GP training places

Expand public health nurse service and provide greater administrative support



Increase State pension and living alone allowance above rate of inflation



Increase mandatory schooling to aged 17

Reducing pupil-teacher ratio



Policing Authority to be asked to review rural  garda station

Stricter bail for repeat offenders

Stronger sanctions for sexual offences



Review of State’s flooding protocols

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