John McGuinness: Confidence and Supply deal puts Fianna Fáil 'in a straitjacket'

John McGuinness: Confidence and Supply deal puts Fianna Fáil 'in a straitjacket'
TD John McGuinness.

“This deal puts us in a straitjacket, it is not the right kind of politics,” Fianna Fáil backbencher John McGuinness says of party leader Micheál Martin’s decision to extend the Confidence and Supply agreement to 2020.

“People will feel abandoned by the party. We won’t get the opportunity to raise issues of concern.

“This could have been done differently,” he told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show.

Micheál Martin has “given the Government a blank cheque. He’s allowed the Government to dictate terms. There isn’t even a document.”

The extension of the agreement will hinder candidates in local election next year, he said, “as they will be seen to be propping up Fine Gael.”

Mr McGuinness said that the excuse of Brexit, “does not wash with me.” He wants to be able “to argue from the back benches on all issues.”

He defended a tweet he sent quoting a party member who described the agreement as the ‘Cowardice and Surrender agreement.’

“We are surrendering to that Government.”

He said he would not resign from the party when it was suggested to him that resigning would be the honourable thing to do.

His party colleague, deputy leader Dara Calleary, said that Mr Martin’s decision had been made in the national interest at a time that requires stability because of the possible consequences of Brexit.

There’s no blank cheque. There will be political stability here unlike across the water.

On the same programme Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan said “we’re in unprecedented times. No one knows the next twist or turn in the road. It’s very important that we give the country a sense of security.”

He said no one had won the last election and that the only party who didn’t want to be in Government was Sinn Féin.

“What Micheál Martin has done is the right thing.”

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said there was no security or stability for people in emergency accommodation.

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