Saturday 23 March 2019

The Floating Voter: Two former FF ministers say significant anger in party over deal with FG

Mary Hanafin. Picture: Damien Eagers
Mary Hanafin. Picture: Damien Eagers
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Two former Fianna Fáil ministers have said there is significant anger within the party over the confidence and supply agreement which props up the Government.

Former Cabinet minister Mary Hanafin and Minister of State Conor Lenihan both said deal which underpins Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s government is a cause of serious concern among the party’s membership.

Ms Hanafin and Mr Lenihan are both competing to be selected on the Fianna Fail ticket for the EU Parliament elections in May.

Speaking to the Floating Voter podcast, Mr Lenihan said a quarter of the Fianna Fáil members he has canvased are “very angry and annoyed” by the confidence and supply agreement especially in the wake of the National Children’s Hospital controversy.

He said some members believe “incompetence is being effectively rewarded” by the party’s decision to not support a motion of no confidence in Health Minister Simon Harris.

Ms Hanfin said she was pleased to see reports of robust exchanges between TDs at a recent Fianna Fail parliamentary party as it was important for members to debate issues.  She said ordinary members are seeking to have more debates around the confidence and supply agreement.

Ms Hanafin said Fianna Fail members should support her candidacy because she has always stayed involved in Fianna Fáil even after the party’s demise after the 2011 General Election.

“If you play for Dublin, you don’t just turn out on All Ireland day and hope to win the support of the whole of Croke Park, you have to have played in all the championship matches, you have to have played in the league and I’ve been doing that in the last eight years,” she added.

Mr Lenihan, who spent several years working in Russia after the financial crash, said he gained “great experience” from working outside politics.

“I raised €1.2bn in research and development investment for an innovation hub in Moscow and I believe the skillsets and investment raising skills I learned and earned there would be very valuable in terms of conducting the role of an MEP,” he said.

Online Editors

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