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Social Democrats rule out entering coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael

The party raised concerns about austerity in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall
Leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall
Image: Sam Boal

THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS have ruled out going into government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael claiming both parties are taking a ‘businesses as usual’ approach during government formation talks.

In a letter today, party leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that they could “not find common ground” and highlighted fears for future “austerity” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our strong sense is that while both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil accept the need to address the current Covid-19 health and immediate economic issues, your path beyond that is trending towards a “business as usual” approach,” the letter said.

“We do not believe that we could find common ground in addressing the challenges ahead, in particular due to our different fiscal approaches and our concerns that your approach will lead to an unequal recovery and a burden of austerity that will be detrimental to ordinary families and to cohesion within Irish society.”

The leaders also said it is prepared to be a “constructive” influence on the opposition bench should a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green Party government come to fruition. 

We do not believe that the government you propose represents the change in direction that Ireland needs.

“Should this Government be formed, we propose instead to be a strong, reasoned and constructive voice in opposition, including supporting measures you bring forward that align with our vision and values.”

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A week of meetings between the Green party and the two main parties is underway. 

The topics on the agenda, as per the policy framework document, focus on a number of areas such as renewing the economy, universal healthcare, housing for all, forming a new social contract as well as a new Green deal.

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