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Leah Farrell
Back in the fold

Fianna Fáil hears proposal for Marc MacSharry to rejoin the parliamentary party

A proposal was brought by TD Barry Cowen to have MacSharry reinstated in the party.

THERE WERE CALLS at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party this evening to have Marc MacSharry rejoin. 

The Sligo-Leitrim TD resigned the party whip last year amidst controversy that surrounded Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney at the time. 

Coveney was facing a no confidence motion being tabled by Sinn Féin over his handling over the nomination of Katherine Zappone to a UN role. 

McSharry had voiced concerns about his party’s position to enforce a whipped vote in supporting the government minister and as a result, resigned from the parliamentary party. 

The TD attended the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis last weekend and spoke about returning to the fold as soon as possible. 

Several Fianna Fáil sources confirmed a proposal was brought by TD Barry Cowen to have MacSharry reinstated in the party and was seconded by Senator Diarmuid Wilson.

However, there was confusion over the internal rule book and how someone can be reinstated, it is understood.  

The Taoiseach is understood to have told his party colleagues that there is a “process” in which someone who resigned the party whip can return, with party sources stating the Taoiseach believes MacSharry must reapply. 

It is believed the Taoiseach said he would speak with MacSharry and will ask him to submit a request to rejoin the parliamentary party.

One source said there was “plenty of drama” and “shouting” from the TDs and senators when the proposal was put down, with several sources stating that the party, as well as the Taoiseach, were not against the proposal.

Another said the issue tonight was “dancing on a pinhead”, as there appears to be confusion as to whether someone who resigned the party whip must apply, while those that vote against the party whip can be readmitted by a seconded proposal. 

Concerns were also raised at the meeting about the concrete levy. A number of backbenchers have already publicly voiced their reservations about the new measure, however, the Taoiseach maintained this week that industry or the taxpayer will have to foot the bill. 

Martin said the issues identified can be assessed in the context of the Finance bill where the detail is being worked out.

A group within the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party have proposed to coordinate with Ministers Michael McGrath and Darragh O’ Brien on the matter.

The group, which will be chaired by TD John Lahart will meet next week to discuss suggestions and feedback on the concrete block levy. 

The concrete block levy was also raised at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, with Leo Varadkar telling members that the exact details would be worked out by the time the Finance Bill comes before the Dáil on 20 October.

Varadkar said the levy should be the onus of the construction industry and not the average taxpayer.

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