Fianna Fáil may form pact on council with Sinn Féin

Fianna Fáil have made approaches to senior Sinn Féin figures in the hope the two parties can form a coalition on Cork County Council.

The 17 newly-elected FF councillors met for the first time yesterday behind closed doors in County Hall to discuss their options.

They are the largest party on the council, but will need to make a pact with another 11 councillors to form a majority in the 55-seater chamber.

Their most likely partner is SF, which has increased its membership on the local authority from one to 10.

FF would still need one more vote and could find that amongst the 10-strong independents.

The FF meeting was chaired by Alan Coleman, who indicated his party had already made overtures to the independents, especially FF-leaning ones such as Mary Linehan-Foley, from Youghal, who left the party just prior to the elections.

“We have been in contact with some senior figures at regional level within Sinn Féin. But we have also contacted independents. During the term of the last council, we built up good relations with a number of independents,” Mr Coleman said.

Labour returned just two seats and Mr Coleman said he believed that if necessary, they could cut a deal with them, especially Noel McCarthy who bucked their poor showing nationally by taking the first seat in the Fermoy electoral area.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the recent animosity in the council chamber between the two parties, Mr Coleman said he wouldn’t rule out a coalition with Fine Gael.

“Civil War politics is gone and we have to look how we can best progress the work of the council over the next five year.”

Amongst the 17 FF councillors yesterday were eight new faces, plus one who has made a comeback.

Joe Carroll from Skibbereen served on the council from 2004-2009 before losing his seat.

FF had no women representatives on the last council but now have two: Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, a married mother-of-two who was a town councillor in Bandon for the last 10 years, and Mary Rose Desmond, from South Douglas Road in Cork City, and serves as a parliamentary assistant to FF leader Micheál Martin, a job she intends to continue.

Mr Coleman said he hoped the party could have some form of a pact in place by early next week, ahead of the first meeting of the council which will take place on Friday, June 6.

For more in depth updates and analysis on the fallout from this year's election and access to our comprehensive results database visit our special Election 2014 section.


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