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Stephen Donnelly hasn't ruled out taking a seat at the cabinet table

The TD says that politicians can achieve more in government.

The TD left the Social Democrats last week.
The TD left the Social Democrats last week.
Image: Facebook

INDEPENDENT AGAIN TD Stephen Donnelly has said that he hasn’t yet taken any calls from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to join them.

The Wicklow and East Carlow representative left the Social Democrats this week and there have been suggestions that he could be co-opted to support the minority government.

Speaking this morning on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show, Donnelly said that he hasn’t had any phonecalls from other party representatives about joining up but that he has “taken soundings around Leinster House.”

Donnelly did not say that he wanted to enter government but stated clearly that he felt politicians can achieve more when they’re around the cabinet table.

“For me, and I think for most politicians I know, if they want to be in Cabinet it’s because it’s a more effective mechanism of getting things done than not being in Cabinet and that certainly is the case for me,” he said.

Donnelly cited the work of Independent Ministers Shane Ross and Katherine Zappone who “pushed very hard” to get the government to commit to closing the tax loophole that allowed vulture funds claim charitable status.

Donnelly said he estimated that without such a measure the Irish exchequer could lose “10 to 20 billion euro” and that it Ross and Zappone should be “congratulated for that”.

On the government side, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney said that he’s heard of no interactions between Fine Gael and Donnelly:

He’s made his own decisions and I’m not going to comment on the political decisions he’s made but I’m not aware of any subsequent interaction with Fine Gael and Stephen Donnelly. I don’t think that’s happened at all to be honest because if it happened I’d know about it.

Read: What’s going to happen to the government if Halligan resigns? >

Read: What next for the Social Democrats? >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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