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Harris to smaller parties: 'Come on over, give us a hand, work with us through this pandemic'

Talks on government formation are expected to ratchet up from this week.

Image: Leon Farrell

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Haris has said Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are “eager to sit down” with the smaller parties in the Dáil to discuss government formation. 

Speaking to reporters yesterday, the minister said he hoped one of the opposition parties would join his party in government with Fianna Fáil.

“Come on over, give us a hand, work with us through this pandemic.

“There’s a number of smaller parties in Dáil Eireann and we’d be very eager to sit down and talk about how to form a government and how we can get our way through this, because Ireland does need a new government, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. 

Yesterday, Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said the Green Party’s response to the joint framework document put forward by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael was “substantive” and raised valid questions.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan this week laid out the 17 commitments he is looking for from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael before entering any formal negotiations.

Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar are due to meet with Ryan next week to see if the Green Party will formally join negotiation talks.

A pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 7% and addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis is “a red line” for the party, Ryan has said, which might prove to be the first stumbling block to be overcome.

Speaking on RTÉ Saturday with Cormac Ó hEadhra, McGrath McGrath said a reduction of 7% in carbon emissions would have to be worked out in practice and expert advice would have to be taken on board.  

Previously asked about the possibility of increasing emissions targets, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said this week that his party is “open” at looking at that, but said if that is proposed, there would need to be clarity on how that can be achieved.

He accepted that radical in tackling the climate and biodiversity emergency is needed.

Echoing her colleagues comments during the week, Wexford TD Verona Murphy said the “current platform that the Greens have presented is unrealistic and can’t be achieved in the current climate”.

Calling it a fantasy, she said a 7% reduction in carbon emissions would decimate industries such as farming and fishing.

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