Rabbitte: Rise of independents not a solution for Ireland's politics

A former Government Minister says he fears for Irish politics, following the results of yesterday's by-elections.

Pat Rabbitte said he believes the recession has caused a fragmentation with voters, where "populist" independent candidates, who he claims "can't agree on anything" get elected.

Anti Austerity Alliance candidate Paul Murphy topped the poll in Dublin South West yesterday, while Independent Michael Fitzmaurice fought off competition from Fianna Fáil in Roscommon South Leitrim.

Deputy Rabbitte said if the rise in independents continues, it could prove difficult to form a Government following the next General Election.

"It's not a solution to the challenges that confront the country now - and [with] further fragmentation, it could be very, very difficult to put together a Government

"I think commentators have become complacent that ever since 1989 ... [begins imitation]: 'ah, sure, they'll put a government together, don't you worry about that. They'll manage to swallow some of their pride and their policies, and they'll put a Government together.'

"I'm not so sure," he said.

Rabbitte also said it would be foolish for the coalition to go on a spending spree in Tuesday's budget.

It is believed the Cabinet will spend up to €2bn in a bid to win over voters, but Deputy Rabbitte said that would not be wise.

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