Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil should rotate power in the next Government but should not form a ‘grand coalition’, junior Finance Minister Michael D’Arcy has said.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr D’Arcy has said it would take “two willing partners” to make a Coalition work, but said that does not exist.
He was responding after Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said the two parties have to join up following the next election.
The Wexford TD and new minister strongly disagreed with his colleague’s comments.
“The funny thing about that stance is that you have to have two willing partners and I don’t know that you would have a will there at present,” he said.
“I don’t support Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in Government, we are different parties, very much so.
“I think we have different mindsets and I don’t think they will change just because the numbers suggest something,” he said.
When pressed, Mr D’Arcy said that the Grand Coalition is not the only potential option, suggesting a rotating power arrangement could work.
“I don’t know it would be better than another minority. I don’t know that it has to be a full coalition, another arrangement could be reached at.
“There can be a confidence and supply [agreement] and if the numbers are particularly close, I don’t see anything wrong with a programme in which we would implement the first half of it and then Fianna Fáil implement the second half after a change of government,” he said. However, the one thing he was clear on is that he will not consider entering Government with Sinn Féin, which has said it is now ready to serve even as a junior party in power.
“I can’t speak for Fine Gael but I will never be in Government with Sinn Féin,” he said.
In light of the pending referendum on the country’s abortion laws, Mr D’Arcy said that he is opposed to any move to liberalise the laws.
“My view is I don’t support abortion, I have long held that view. We are going to have a conversation as what to do for those who find themselves pregnant in cases of incest and rape. That is a legitimate conversation to be held,” he said.
“I also don’t support repealing something without knowing what would replace it. I don’t support repealing it without knowing what comes after it,” he said.
Mr D’Arcy said despite his views, he will not break ranks with the Government, adding he doesn’t know that a free vote will apply to members of Government.
“I would assume ministers would be bound so I wouldn’t be able to avail of a free vote on it. I have an obligation to accept the collective view of government, I knew that before I was appointed,” he said. Mr D’Arcy appeared to pour scorn on the Assembly’s recommendations, saying the Assembly he will listen to is the Oireachtas.
“The Citizens Assembly went much further than anyone anticipated, it was a surprise. There is no pretending that is the case.
“I am very clear there are 220 members of the Oireachtas, they are the real Citizens Assembly, and I will be bound by their decision,” he said.
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