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Bertie Ahern says FF-FG government must involve Greens and SocDems to 'reflect change'

The former Taoiseach predicted a new government won’t be formed by the end of March.

Bertie Ahern speaking to RTE's The Week in Politics
Bertie Ahern speaking to RTE's The Week in Politics
Image: RTE Player

FORMER TAOISEACH BERTIE AHERN has said the new government has to “reflect what the issues were with the people”.

Speaking to RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, the former Fianna Fáil leader predicted a new government would not be formed by the end of March. 

He said work on creating a “stable and sustainable” coalition had not yet begun.

Ahern said if Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael form a coalition, it would need to involve the Greens and Social Democrats and “some sort of an agreement” with independents. 

“If you don’t do that it won’t reflect change and it would also create a problem for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, particularly Fianna Fáil, because when you’re putting a government together, you have to look to the future as well,” he said. 

Ahern added that if a Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael government does happen, something he said he “wouldn’t put too much money on yet”, it will have to “take into account what is the policy formulation”. 

“If you look at Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s manifesto, it’s not too difficult to see how you can put that together, but you’re going to have to reflect what the issues were with the people,” Ahern said, adding that it brings it back to three main issues – housing, homelessness and health.

Ahern went on to say that the public will be looking for a “programme for government that gets four years, that reflects the politics of the issues that were around in this election”. 

“And the reality is the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael manifestos didn’t reflect that.” 

Ahern said he believes there are only three or four options for forming a government. 

“Option one is that Fianna Fáil is the minority government with some kind of an arrangement with Fine Gael … that’s not going to work because when you look at the figures when you take Fine Gael out of it there’s only about two votes in it,” Ahern said. 

He said the second option could be Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein and “somebody else”, but he added that Fianna Fail “have ruled that out solidly”.

Finally, he added: “You’ve Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Greens. I think the Greens would be setting themselves up, that doesn’t sound like a good deal for them.

So, I think the more likely one is Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Greens, the Social Democrats, with an arrangement with independents.

Ahern said this option “might sound cumbersome”, but added that “it would reflect the result” of the election. 

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