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Promises in FG-FF document don't add up - and raise risk of a voter backlash

Dan O'Brien


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Double act: The promises of Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar seem fanciful at best. Photo: Frank McGrath

Double act: The promises of Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar seem fanciful at best. Photo: Frank McGrath

Double act: The promises of Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar seem fanciful at best. Photo: Frank McGrath

Forming a government after the February General Election was never going to be easy. That election resulted in the most fragmented Dáil in history. Political fragmentation makes government formation harder, as was to be seen in this country in 2016 and in many others before and since.

The leaderships of the two Civil War parties this week agreed on a broad basis for coalition. As they are a long way short of a majority in the Dáil, there is still a long way to go before a new government is formed. Getting buy-in from smaller parties, independents and the grassroots of both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael cannot be taken for granted. Nor can agreement on a programme for government.

The pandemic has changed things. Before the outbreak, all the political parties believed they would have money to spend over the five-year natural lifespan of the current Dáil. They had made many and various promises about their priorities in government on that basis.