- with reporting from Aoife Moore
A number of Fine Gael ministers do not believe a government can be formed and that a second general election will be needed.
The ministers believe an agreement can be reached with Fianna Fáil but that no other party will step up and enter government, forcing the country to vote again.
The ministers were speaking as it emerged that the joint policy paper from the two parties will now not be agreed until tomorrow as a scheduled meeting has been delayed by 24 hours.
The document will now not be presented to the Green Party, Labour, the Social Democrats, and the Regional Independent Group until Friday.
This is because of Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe’s inconclusive 16-hour conference call with eurozone finance ministers today aimed at addressing the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, several Fine Gael ministers have expressed concern that all the progress made with Fianna Fáil will come to nothing.
“I just don’t see any of the other parties stepping up. If you’re the Labour Party, given what happened to them in 2016, would you sign up for another suicide mission? No, of course not. The Greens, as far as I could see it, never wanted to go in, and who knows about the Social Democrats,” one minister said.
The ministers fear that many people do not realise that because of the Covid-19 crisis, the new government will need to take very drastic and tough decisions and you can’t do that with a minority government or if you are reliant on independents.
“People are talking about 80 seats, for what we have to do, we would need 90-plus and I just can’t see that coming to pass. We are in 2011 territory in terms of the decisions we have to take. You simply can’t do that with a majority of two or three,” a minister said.
A growing sense of disillusionment has begun to ramp up in some quarters of Fianna Fáil as TDs find themselves learning about the policy framework from the media.
“We’ve had no input, we’ve never seen it, and it’s never discussed with us, it’s well to try and entice smaller parties, but they have to entice their own first,” one TD said.
Meanwhile, a grassroots group of Fianna Fáil members has written to the party’s TDs encouraging them to form a ‘national emergency government’, or face the party’s end entirely.
The group, Cosmhuintir Fianna Fáil, who are understood to have hundreds of members, say they are made up of “loyal and hardworking members of the party”.
The letter, sent via email to elected TDs, says it is “a cry from the heart of Fianna Fáil for the rehabilitation and reform of the party” which “will only be served, in the long term, by committing to a National Emergency Government to bring us through the sad events of our time,” the letter reads.
TDs are hearing about a growing distrust within the party of leader Micheál Martin.
“What we’re hearing more now than we ever heard before is that they would like to see a different leader. The impression is that Micheál is doing this in his own interest, not in the interest of Fianna Fáil.”