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'This is not what people voted for': Fianna Fáilers launch campaign to defeat party's deal with Fine Gael

The group describes itself as “a grassroots campaign of proud Fianna Fáil members”.

The group was launched online this evening.
The group was launched online this evening.

A GROUP OF Fianna Fáil members across the country that includes more than 50 councillors has begun a campaign to vote down the proposed programme for government with Fine Gael and the Green Party.

Earlier today, the leaders of the three parties agreed a draft programme for government that would see them govern as part of a coalition. 

Under the deal, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will serve as Taoiseach until December 2022 when the role will rotate back to Leo Varadkar. 

Each party must ratify the deal among its members first however with this hurdle likely more difficult among the Green Party and Fianna Fáil. 

Over two-thirds of voting members in the Greens must approve the deal, while a simple majority would suffice in the case of Fianna Fáil.

For Fine Gael its parliamentary party has 50% of the weighted votes, so the passing of the deal will likely be more straightforward for the party currently in government. 

During the election campaign, Martin repeatedly ruled out entering into government with Fine Gael and there’s believed to be a significant cohort of members within the party that remain of this view. 

Some of those members this evening began a campaign called ‘Fairer Future’ to encourage other members to vote against entering into government with Fine Gael. 

The group describes itself as “a grassroots campaign of proud Fianna Fáil members”.

The group says it is launching with more that 50 councillors and 1,000 members already signed up. 

“After nine years of Fine Gael rule Ireland needs real change. This PfG will not deliver change,” Fianna Fáil councillor on Cork County Council Deirdre Kelly said this evening.

It will do nothing to address the quality of life issues facing so many people in Ireland. We’ve seen the reality of Fine Gael in Government and we don’t believe Fianna Fáil should sign up to a deal that means a continuation of the status quo on housing and rural life. This is not what people voted for.

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Party representative on Roscommon County Council Orla Leyden described the programme for government as “a series of reheated policies”.

“The decision is now in our hands. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of our movement is at stake. So too are our values of equality of opportunity, good housing, protecting the vulnerable and the prioritisation of education,” she said. 

“We know that this is a difficult decision for members across the country. It was only after much thought and discussion that I have decided to urge you, our fellow party members, to Vote No and reject this deal.”

Speaking earlier today, the Fianna Fáil leader said that  he was happy to have reached an agreement and that party members must now decide whether to back it. 

“There’s a challenging time ahead economically as a result of Covid-19,” he told reporters.

“I think the programme for government does represent a new departure in how we deal on key issues such as housing, education, health and above all the significant challenge of our generation which is climate change.”

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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