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Michael and Danny Healy Rae outside Leinster House today. Christina Finn
government formation

Healy Raes question SF on election promise funding, saying there's 'no such thing as a free lunch'

Pearse Doherty hit out against Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for refusing to engage with Sinn Féin.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Feb 2020

KERRY TDS MICHAEL and Danny Healy Rae met with Sinn Féin today in the latest round of government formation talks since the general election. 

Speaking to reporters at Leinster House today, Michael Healy Rae said they had a good meeting with Sinn Féin TDs Pearse Doherty and Matt Carty, but said questions remained about the costings of some of the promises in their manifesto. 

“A lot of the Sinn Féin policies, they sound fine, but it’s who pays for it, where does the money come from? These are very clear questions… what we were trying to do today was get down to the nitty-gritty of it and ask how exactly it will be financed, where will the money come from, there is no such thing as a free lunch,” he said. 

He said these were complicated questions that needed answers, stating that they would meet with Sinn Féin again.

“We got a lot of answers but we have a lot more questions that need to be answered and we are hoping for questions to be answered in the coming weeks,” he added.

Danny Healy-Rae said he felt assured Sinn Fein was interested in rural Ireland and the issues that concern them.

“They appear to be very interested in rural Ireland and got a lot of deputies elected in rural Ireland but there is still a lot of talking to be done and we have a lot of problems to do with Kerry that we would like looked after,” he said.

When asked if either wanted a ministerial role in the next government, Michael Healy Rae said all they want is the “betterment of the people of Kerry”. 

“We are looking for absolutely nothing for the Healy Raes,” he added. 

Michael Healy Rae added that the next government need to “learn from mistakes of past” stating that people felt left behind by those in power the last nine years.

“We want politicians and ministers in the future who will be able to concentrate their minds on the task in hand and not be away with the fairies,” he said, stating that some ministers had “lost touch with reality”.

On the issue of the election of the next Ceann Comhairle, Danny Healy Rae said he will be voting for Fianna Fáil’s Seán Ó Fearghaíl for the job “full stop”, stating that he is experienced in the role. 

The two brothers were also asked if there would be a repeat of the 2016 scenes on the first day of the Dáil sitting, where the Healy Raes held a min-concert outside the gates of Leinster House. 

Neither of the Kerry TD could rule out such festivities taking place tomorrow. / YouTube

Earlier today, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty has said his party is intensifying its discussions with parties and Independents today around forming a government for change.

Over the next day, Doherty and the party’s negotiating team will meet with the Green Party, the Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, the Labour Party, Independents4Change, the Rural Independents Group, as well as other Independents. 

Doherty hit out against Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael today for refusing to engage with Sinn Féin, stating that he was fed up with the “shadow-boxing” by the two parties. 

“The people want politicians that have been elected to get on with dealing with serious issues.

“It is not good enough to sit on the sidelines and refuse to engage,” he told reporters. 

He said the party is already in the process of putting together the arrangements for a special Ard Fheis should it be needed to ratify any possible programme for government. 

Meanwhile, Richard Boyd Barrett and Mick Barry and Paul Murphy of Solidarity-People Before Profit have said they are willing to vote for Mary Lou McDonald, “on the condition that our support is used to attempt to assemble a left minority government, and not to facilitate a return to power of either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael”.

4640 PBP Talks Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

“A genuinely Left Government will need to introduce Left policies such as building 100,000 social and affordable homes within 3 years; introducing a National Health Service bill as an immediate goal and increasing the national minimum wage to €15 an hour this year. These necessities can never be delivered in any government containing Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael and so we call on Sinn Féin to rule out categorically any such coalition, which unfortunately they haven’t yet done,” said Mick Barry. 

While parties on the Left continue to discuss government formation, Fianna Fáil is due to hold its second parliamentary party meeting at 6pm today.

Ahead of tonight’s meeting, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he will appoint his party’s government formation negotiating team. He said he had written to Mary Lou McDonald to explain why he believed that a coalition between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin would not be the right thing to do. 

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