'I'm at a loss why people think Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens will able to work in harmony'

'I'm at a loss why people think Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens will able to work in harmony'
Neasa Hourigan

A Green Party TD says those encouraging her party to join in government formation are asking them to facilitate a power-grab from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Neasa Hourigan says that the current thinking that her party should join in the likely coalition of the two traditional parties, is asking them to put their policies and principles aside, despite not asking the same of other parties.

"If you felt you could leverage a national crisis into a five year government with no commitments on housing or health or climate, you'd think that's what they're doing," she said.

"The idea that they are somehow presenting their view as the only view is unacceptable, and it's no coincidence that that particular view affords them the most amount of power with the least amount of oversight"

The Green Party say Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael haven't considered a unity government seriously, and now is not the time for government formation talks.

They believe a national unity government could provide strong, cross-party leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic – flagging Belgium as an example of a state where the arrangement has worked.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said that “behind the scenes” there is growing interest in a government of national unity.

Neither Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael have taken the idea seriously, according to Ms Hourigan, while Sinn Féin remain open to the idea, Social Democrat Gary Gannon described it as a "social science experiment".

Over the weekend, a number of media reports criticised the Green Party for "walking off the pitch" in a time of national crisis, by withdrawing from government formation talks.

Ms Hourigan says the suggestion the onus is on her party alone to give up on certain principles is unfair.

"We were the only party that convened in-depth policy talks with every party," Ms Hourigan added.

"We spoke to both parties about their priorities at length and we did not agree on a whole lot.

"We couldn't get commitment or enthusiasm to a 7% emissions target, or commitment to focus on public transport, or great commitment to look at Shannon LLG.

"I'm at a loss why people think Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens will able to work in harmony and it does very strongly imply that we should go in and be quiet - that's what they're saying we don't agree but you have to provide stability.

"While we concentrate on this crisis, it doesn't mean all that gets set to one side.

"To enter some interim agreement and concentrate on government later, it's not responsible to cobble something like that together with no agreement on vision for the country.

"It also means there's nothing the public can hold you to, just making a government with no documents on their plans for the future, how is the electorate to hold them to account?

"The idea that you're not going to have any plan then jump into five years of government is crazy."

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