ENDA KENNY HAS sought to draw a line under ongoing speculation about Fine Gael doing a post-election deal with Fianna Fáil by insisting he has already ruled it out 10 times over the last fortnight.
The Taoiseach was speaking after he notably failed to rule out serving as taoiseach in a potential coalition government with Fianna Fáil at the launch of the Fine Gael manifesto yesterday.
The Fine Gael leader was asked three times if he would step down in the event that his party needs to be propped up by its long-time rival following the election on 26 February.
“I do not contemplate doing business with them,” he said when pressed on the matter.
This sparked renewed speculation that a post-election deal could be struck between the two historic rivals as polls indicate that Fine Gael and Labour will not have enough support to be re-elected to government.
At the launch of Fine Gael’s healthcare plans today, Kenny was asked if he was prepared to definitively rule out a post-election deal with Fianna Fáil.
I was the first party leader to rule out Fianna Fáil. I’ve ruled them out on at least 10 occasions in the last fortnight and I do so again now, very clearly.
Meanwhile, Micheál Martin today slammed the government after the Sunday Business Post quoted a government strategist as saying: “We will scare the s*** out of them [the electorate] for the last 10 days.”
The Fianna Fáil leader told RTÉ today: “They are saying to journalists essentially: ‘We will frighten the living daylights out of Irish people to get them to vote for us’.
“That is now the strategy of Fine Gael and Labour, hence Brendan Howlin’s comments this morning.
I mean it’s extraordinary arrogance and it’s insulting the intelligence of the Irish people to be using language like that and to be using that kind of approach in an election.
Fine Gael health plans
Launching his party’s health policies today, Kenny claimed that the government had started to rebuild the health service and pledged to introduce free GP care for everyone under 18 in the lifetime of the next government.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said that the ultimate goal of universal healthcare could be achieved by making “one big step forward” every year for the next five years.
He said the €2 billion that Fine Gael is proposing to spend on health will all be directed towards services, and not pay.
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