Ahern: It will not be easy to attract parties to join FG/FF in government

Ahern: It will not be easy to attract parties to join FG/FF in government

The Social Democrats have written to the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil looking for economic projections as they consider the offer to enter government.

They want to assess how realistic many of the promises in a framework document published this week are.

The three smaller political parties that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil want to entice into government are all holding meetings today.

Labour will discuss it briefly on a Zoom conference call this morning but their position is unchanged.

The Greens have looked for more information on housing and the climate promises.

While the Social Democrats have written to the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil as well as the Finance Minister looking for economic projections.

They want up-to-date assessments of the economy and projections for the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit so they can properly assess how realistic the goals and promises in the framework document are.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says it will not be an easy task to attract other parties to sign up to the framework coalition document.

Mr Ahern says he would ideally like to see two other parties come on board with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

"For Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to get a framework document together in itself is not easy and to pull in some of the other parties is not going to be easy but I think what people need to think about is that the next few years are going to be challenging.

"You need a clear majority, you need at least one other party. Personally, I would love to see two because then you have people working together."

Mr Ahern said that Micheál Martin will want to be Taoiseach first in any arrangement.

"Micheál will say that he is the biggest party but if I was Micheál I would probably also say that I'm over 60 and as Fianna Fáil members as Taoiseach go, that's old.

"So I'm sure he will want to go first and I don't blame him for that and I think he has the argument that."

Mr Ahern said he believes Leo Varadkar will remain in the position of Taoiseach during the current coronavirus crisis - and praised the Fine Gael leader for "doing a good job in bringing us through that".

It would also “make sense” for Simon Harris to remain in his current role as Minister for Health, said Mr Ahern as the Minister has been doing a "really good job" during the pandemic.

"It is ironic that the reason we ended up with a February 8th election is because a confidence motion in Simon was put down pre-Christmas, and because the Government couldn't get through they opted to go for an early election.

"The person who that confidence motion was in is the person who’s been doing a really good job in the last few months, but that's how politics flips around."

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