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Could Fine Gael go into government on its own?

One backbencher reckons the party should try it.

Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A FINE GAEL backbencher has suggested that his party should consider governing in the minority following the general election result.

Eoghan Murphy, who retained his Dáil seat in Dublin Bay South this afternoon, said that given Fine Gael is likely to have more seats than Fianna Fáil it should examine forming a minority government.

A minority government would mean Fine Gael would need to secure support from other parties on an issue-by-issue basis in order to get legislation through.

While it had been thought possible if Fine Gael returned with over 60 seats, its current expectation of holding just over 50 makes the possibility of a minority government much harder to envisage.

Post-election coalition speculation centres on whether Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can do a deal, but Murphy believes that his party should attempt govern alone, saying it would strengthen the power of the Dáil.

“People are rushing very quickly to talk about Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition. I’m not sure that’s in the best interests of our national politics,” Murphy said after his election in the RDS today.

“One thing that’s going to be certain is we’re going to have a much stronger Dáil and that’s actually been one of our failings in Irish politics. The executive has been too strong and what we’re going to see now in the outcome is more powers in Dáil Éireann.

“I wouldn’t rule out a minority Fine Gael government. I think there’s every possibility of that given the seats that we have.

“If you look at how we did versus Fianna Fáil I think there was a similar percentage, but we had a lot more seats, we had a lot more second preferences going to Fine Gael.

“People in the exit polls said they wanted Fine Gael returned to government. So I think we should try and do that and maybe the first thing we should try is minority government. I don’t know, we’ll have to see.”

Murphy criticised Fine Gael’s election campaign saying it had not been good: “It didn’t start well, it never really got properly lit, it never really connected with the voters. We felt that on the doors ourselves.”

Murphy said he has “full confidence” in Enda Kenny and said he would like to be a part of the next government if it involves Fine Gael.

Fine Gael secured two seats in Dublin Bay South with Murphy’s running mate Kate O’Connell also elected, along with Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan.

Their election came at the expense of Renua leader Lucinda Creighton, who was eliminated last night, and Labour junior minister Kevin Humphreys.

Read: Green Party back as Eamon Ryan joins his deputy in Dáil

Read: Five simple reasons the government got the mood of the people so wrong

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Hugh O'Connell

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