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Micheál Martin interested in working with 'smaller parties' after the next general election

The Fianna Fáil leader was asked if he would be happy to rely on Michael Lowry’s support.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

MICHEÁL MARTIN HAS said Fianna Fáil would be interested in working with smaller parties in the next Dáil, if his party got the numbers to lead a government. 

He said his party will seek to get the maximum number of seats possible in the next general election, but added: 

“We’re not going to go in with anybody just for the sake of going in with them.”

So, who would Fianna Fáil be open to?

Speaking to reporters, Martin made it clear that the party’s preference is not to have a repeat of the current confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael. 

“What we would prefer, to be honest, is to have a relationship with other parties, smaller parties and since the local elections I think the options are now wider than perhaps people might have thought,” he said. 

Following the local elections, the party signed up to a voting pact with the Green party and Labour and the Social Democrats across Dublin’s four councils.

Martin was also asked about whether he would be happy to work with independents, and in particular, Tipperary TD Michael Lowry. 

The Fianna Fáil leader has been critical of the relationship Lowry supposedly has with Fine Gael in this Dáil, in which he votes to ensure Fine Gael measures pass. Both Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar have denied there is “an understanding” between Fine Gael and Lowry to ensure government support.

“I am not going to go through individuals – then it will be Mattie McGrath, then it will be somebody else,” said Martin, not wanting to comment on the possibility of his party relying on Lowry’s support. 

When asked if he wasn’t ruling out working with Michael Lowry, Martin said:

“I don’t envisage it. There could be many independents and I am not going to single one out.”

Lowry was forced to resign from cabinet in 1996 following a succession of political scandals. He was barred from standing as a Fine Gael candidate in the election the following year but ran as an independent and topped the poll.

In 2018, he was found guilty in the Circuit Criminal Court on two charges relating to tax returns for his refrigeration company, Garuda Ltd. 

He and the company were fined a total of €25,000 and he was disqualified from acting as a director of the company for three years. The judge also accepted that he had no previous convictions and said he was a “conscientious tax payer”.

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