Fianna Fáil membership differs over talks

Significant divisions in opinion have opened up among the membership of Fianna Fáil on government formation.

Grassroots members are now at odds as to whether a second election would be better for the party than supporting a Fine Gael minority government from the opposition benches.

Cumainn members could end up playing a major role in deciding whether to enter coalition, as they are required to vote on any programme for government. However, there is no special ard fheis required to support a minority government.

Fianna Fáil Longford comhairle Dáil ceantair PRO Denise O’Flaherty said there is no appetite for another election but members also feel that undue pressure has been placed on Fianna Fáil to form a government,

Ms O’Flaherty said: “A lot of pressure has been put on Fianna Fáil but there are other options, there is Sinn Féin or the Independents. There is no appetite for another election. I think if there was another election people might turn completely away from the major parties. People would be very annoyed.”

However, at a recent meeting of the Cork North West Fianna Fáil cumann, the opposite opinion was expressed, with members favouring an election rather than allowing Fine Gael re-enter power.

Cork Fianna Fáil councillor Ian Doyle, who attended the meeting, said party members are now leaning towards an election rather than supporting an Enda Kenny-led government.

“They [grassroots members] would be leaning towards an election, judging by last week’s meeting, personally I don’t think the country is ready. But the members would be more in favour of an election,” said Mr Doyle.

“Certainly our feeling would be for a minority government led by Micheál Martin [that] is our priority.”

Mr Doyle said that a solution would have to be arrived at soon or “we would be back on the road once again”.

Elizabeth Fleming chairperson of the Fianna Fáil cumann in Clara, Co Offaly, said traditional Fianna Fáil supporters would find it very difficult to allow Fine Gael enter any type of government.


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