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Dublin: 1 °C Tuesday 28 January, 2020
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Fianna Fáil just aren't quite sure how they feel about Fine Gael

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

Fianna Fáil’s differing views on supporting Fine Gael.

photo158120965215203205 Source: RollingNews.ie

A coalition government consisting of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would be a groundbreaking moment in Irish politics.

After decades of opposition, the two civil war parties could come to the conclusion that they’re not so different after all.

Some have warned that it could represent a dangerous lurch towards a polarised political system consisting of left and right in Ireland, something that has been largely avoided for some time.

Right now, this coalition doesn’t seem to be a prospect, but it is starting to appear as though Fianna Fáil don’t quite know what they want.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie yesterday, the party’s social protection spokesperson told us “anything is possible”, and that he would be willing to consider supporting Fine Gael on a vote-by-vote basis.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

He said he would support a government “of whatever persuasion” that would maintain the economic recovery, but do so in a way that it “touches every section of society”.

The party’s new director of elections Billy Kelleher was singing from a different hymn sheet. The Irish Times reports that he has ruled out any support for Fine Gael, while also noting that the party is unlikely to form part of the next government at all.

And Niall Collins, justice spokesperson? He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he supports the view of Billy Kelleher and party leader Micheál Martin, but that it is ultimately up to the party’s members to decide on whether to work with Fine Gael, something he believes there is staunch opposition to.

With the election campaign rumbling into action, a concrete approach may be needed fast.

The agenda

  • Questions on Public Expenditure and Reform kick off the day for the Dáil at 9.30am.
  • Leaders’ Questions takes place at midday.
  • That’s followed by Order of Business at 12.21pm on the dot.
  • At 3pm there will be statements on developments in mental health services under the current government.
  • Topical issues will be discussed at 4.42pm.
  • The Seanad will take a look at the National Cultural Institutions Bill 2015 from 12.45pm, and the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 at 1.30pm.
  • At 11.15am the Health and Children committee will discuss the use of assistance dogs in Ireland.
  • Minister Michael Noonan will continue thrashing out Budget 2016 at the Finance committee from 10am.
  • The annual report of the Comptroller and Auditor General will be analysed by the Public Accounts Committee at 10am.

Inside Leinster House

TDs and senators are likely to be a little bit more careful today of what they’re saying close to a live microphone.

What the others are saying

  • Michael Noonan said the situation in the property market started to look “a little scary” earlier this year, The Irish Times reports.
  • The paper also reports that Sinn Féin has been criticised for supporting the transfer of welfare cuts to Westminster from Stormont.
  • RTÉ News reports that President Michael D Higgins expressed his “incredible grief” at the high rate of suicide among Travellers.
  • The banking inquiry is in crisis, the Irish Independent reports, as members become frustrated with a ‘weak and confusing’ draft report.
  • Minister James Reilly is insisting that universal health insurance remains part of government policy, the Irish Examiner reports.

In case you missed it

Good day for…

Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit party. Off the back of good poll results at the weekend, they’re now setting their sights on being better recognised by polling companies as a viable party.

Bad day for…

Banking inquiry chairman Ciaran Lynch. The last thing he needs in getting the inquiry over the line is opposition from members to  the committee’s progress, as reported by the Irish Independent.

On the Twitter machine

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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