Fianna Fáil leader predicts radical shift in way Dáil does business

There will be a significant change in how the Dáil does its business, Fianna Fáil has predicted.

Party leader Micheál Martin said reform is “well under way” under the chairmanship of Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghail.

“The Dáil will be much more in command of its destiny now than it would have been heretofore when governments of the day tended to rule every single item on the agenda and determine what happened in the Dáil.”

Independent TDs spoken to by Fianna Fáil in recent weeks gave negotiators a “very good reception,” he said.

“Obviously the independents were anxious that both parties would get into the process that we are now in, in terms of ascertaining and working towards how would a minority government work. That has now happened and I’m not going to get into specuation as to who’s going to support who but what I can honestly say is that we’ve put forward very succint, clear policy positions ranging from the health and housing issues right across of course to the issues of justice and transparency about how we appoint judges, for example, and I think we had very precise proposals and the independents welcomed that.”

Mattie McGrath, who was a Fianna Fáil TD before leaving the party during the FF-Green coalition term, said it was “a pity” that his former party had ruled out a partnership government with Fine Gael, but welcomed the beginning of talks between the two parties.

“Before we can support a minority government we have to have some idea about what the rules of engagement are — how many budgets will be passed and how will votes be held. It is not rocket science,” the Independent TD said.

“There are only a few core issues. There will be votes lost in this Dáil several times. It is really only about the budgets and the votes of confidence. No more than five core issues or so… I will be waiting to see what happens. We have the vote on Thursday.


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