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Differing views from TDs on new Government

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Deputy Frank Feighan

Deputy Frank Feighan

Deputy Frank Feighan

According to Fine Gael Deputy, Frank Feighan the 'Shared Island' aspect of the Draft Framework agreement with Fianna Fáil was "one of the most important features contained within the document for the future of our island."

Deputy Feighan, a former chair of the Oireachtas Good Friday Committee and who also chaired the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, is a long-term advocate and supporter of the unification of the different people, traditions and customs on the island of Ireland.

"I have always sought to try to improve the relationships and links between the two islands in my role as an elected representative.

"We have to understand that a united island is not a one-way street and there has to be compromise and understanding of our shared history and traditions from both sides to achieve this goal of a brighter future."

During election night speech at the county centre in the The Sligo Park Hotel in February, Deputy Feighan said: "One of the best days of my life was when the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement was signed.

"I say this because this led to the Good Friday Agreement and all the progress we have seen to date. I want to help to unite the people of this island and this is why it is my view that this Draft Framework Document and the carefully chosen language contained within it will help to achieve this as it is ambitious and respectful in equal measure.

"I want to commend the specific commitments contained within the document on the plans to support cross border projects which I have continually highlighted and fought for as a national politician.

"Projects such as the increased access of local border communities to EU Peace Funds, cross border Greenways, the investigation into a highspeed rail link between Dublin and Belfast and the A5 motorway linking North and South.

"These are all vital projects to the achievement of this said goal of uniting the people of this island," he said.

Meanwhile, MEP Chris MacManus (SF) claimed Fianna Fail and Fine Gael's exclusion of Sinn Féin "shows contempt for the democratic will of the people."

MacManus said: "This joint document is an incoherent attempt at convincing the electorate that they will implement Sinn Féin style policies. Terms like 'New Social Contract' are smoke screens attempting to appease the majority of voters who do not support them"

"Make no mistake this is a document that lays out a deeply conservative future of severe austerity in strict compliance with European financial rules.

"There's no hint of progressive taxation. Once again, the low to medium earners will be hit hardest, whilst those who can afford additional taxation measures will escape unscathed."

The Sligo MEP stated that the document fell well short of expectations. "It's a publication that lacks imagination and ambition. There are no clear commitments to progressive changes in health, housing, childcare and climate action.

"These were the major issues of the recent general election. Issues the electorate demanded change in yet we're being forced to settle for more of the same."

"The issue of Irish u)nity is a mere footnote in this framework document. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can't claim to support the Good Friday Agreement and simultaneously shy away from one of its key elements; a referendum on Irish unity.

"We've witnessed the stark dangers of a divided island in the last number of weeks. two different sets of advice from our media; two different health systems; two different lockdown dates; two different compensation payments for cross-border workers, and no doubt two different dates for when restrictions are finally lifted. The border is damaging to the lives of the people on both sides of it.

MacManus concluded: "This was an opportunity for Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to address all of these major issues, but instead they've cobbled together a panicked document to try to exclude Sinn Féin from Government whilst cynically using the current crisis as a mechanism to grab power from those with the mandate for change."

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