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It's a yes: FF, FG and Greens to enter coalition after members back government deal

Martin can expect to be elected taoiseach when the Dáil meets in the Convention Centre tomorrow.

Updated Jun 26th 2020, 8:35 PM

FIANNA FÁIL, FINE Gael and the Green Party have all voted in favour of the programme for government, ratifying the historic deal. 

Green Party members voted to endorse the programme with 76% favouring the deal – above the two-thirds that was needed for the endorsement of the deal. 

The Fianna Fáil result, announced this evening, saw 74% of over 11,000 party members vote in favour of the deal. 

Speaking after the results were announced, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that “democracy in our party is alive and well” and said that those who had opposed the programme for government did so in a “respectful” manner. 

“The vast majority of the party are anxious that we get on with the business of helping the country get through this crisis,” he said, thanking members for engaging in the vote. 

“We’ve chosen this route, it has many challenges.

“I do not understate the gravity of the situation facing the country, but on the other hand it’s also a moment of opportunity and a moment of hope for our people that we face up to the challenges, overcome them and lead to a better type of society where people can have access to homes, where people can have access to a good quality health service, and where we can meet the existential challenge of our time, namely climate change, in a far more energetic and effective way than we have in the past,” he said.

Martin added: “It’s an important day for us and I’m very, very grateful to the members for participating in such an energetic campaign, and in doing so in such large numbers.”

The Fianna Fáil leader also confirmed that the attorney general for the first two and half years of the proposed government would be nominated by him and would be nominated by Leo Varadkar for the second half of the term.

He said the carve-up of the ministries is mostly done, and indicated the Children’s brief will remain in some form.

009 Green Party Source: RollingNews.ie

Speaking this evening, deputy leader of the Green Party Catherine Martin said:

“I know some members and supporters will be disappointed.”

She said the party has heard their concerns, stating:

“You can be assured that we will work everyday to ensure that this government will deliver, every day, for all the people of Ireland.”

Catherine Martin added that the country is “crying out” for a stable government.

“It won’t be easy, but we intend hitting the ground running, entering government in good faith, realising there is a job of work to be done,” she said.

“I know many Green members will be sceptical of serving in a government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

“But it is important to be aware equally so, that are those in those parties that may not be overjoyed with Green participation in government.

“So we will ensure this government is one of mutual respect, co-operation, good faith and trust that is committed to all the people of Ireland,” said Martin.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “I believe we can work with our coalition parties, and the opposition parties in the Dáil, to set our country on this new future.”

Earlier, Fine Gael members voted in favour of the programme for government. From a total of 674 ballots – a 95% turnout – 80% voted in favour of the deal.

Fine Gael has an electoral college which is weighted towards the parliamentary party.

The parliamentary party make up 50% of the vote, followed by constituency delegates (25%), councillors (15%) and the party’s executive council (10%).

The Fine Gael breakdown of votes is as follows:

  • Constituency Delegates: Yes 71% No 29% 
  • Council of Local Representatives: Yes 57% No 43%
  • Parliamentary Party: Yes 90% No 10%
  • Executive Council Yes 85% No 15%

The results from the parliamentary party indicated that five TDs/senators/MEPs voted down the deal.

Speaking to reporters outside Fine Gael HQ, Leo Varadkar said the vote by the membership is a “very strong mandate” for the party to have a third term in government.

He said he wasn’t entirely certain all four colleges in the party would back the deal. Varadkar had earlier said he was confident that Fianna Fáil would also endorse the programme for government.

005 Fine Gael count Votes being counted at Fine Gael HQ. Source: RollingNews.ie

Since Green Party members have approved the agreement, Martin can expect to be elected Taoiseach when the Dáil meets in the Convention Centre tomorrow. 

This evening, he said that he wasn’t taking Green Party approval for granted. 

Some Fianna Fáil sources were on edge today, questioning where the confidence in the Greens giving the thumbs up to the deal was coming from.

If one of the three parties had voted down the deal, we would have entered into the unknown.

Responding to the announcement tonight that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party have agreed to enter government, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said people voted for change in the general election. Voters wanted a “move away from the two parties that have shared power in this State for nearly one hundred years”, he said.

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“Faced with the prospect of a Government of Change, the two old parties have come together to circle the wagons to exclude Sinn Féin, and they are using the Green Party as a fig leaf to do this.

“The reality is that the desire for change is even stronger now than it was in February. People know what it’s like to have Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in power together.

“At a time when Ireland needs ambition and big ideas, we have a Programme for Government that fails to deliver on affordable housing, on building up capacity in our health services, on getting people back to work and having enough to survive, on childcare, on the right to retire at sixty-five and on planning for Irish unity.

“Sinn Féin wanted to lead a Government for Change and we wanted to lead a government that will deliver. We will be equally determined in leading the Opposition,” he said.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said in voting for the programme for

government, “the Green Party have, in effect, given the green light to maintain the status quo rather than to bring about the change people voted for in the general election”.

“In signing up to an alliance with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil the Greens have decided to throw their lot in with the parties whose policies gave us cruel and unjust austerity,” he said.

Boyd Barrett and his colleagues plan to protest outside the Convention Centre tomorrow for the Taoiseach’s vote.

Stay with TheJournal.ie for all the latest over the next two days. Keep up with the latest by following @thejournal_ie, and Political Correspondent @christinafinn8.

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