Independent Alliance eyes Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

The Independent Alliance is wooing Independent TD Stephen Donnelly and hopes to cut a deal with the Wicklow man so he will join the group in the new year.

Crunch talks will also take place today between the alliance and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to review the Programme for Government and the recent turbulent few months for the coalition.

Mr Donnelly has confirmed he informally discussed joining the alliance with junior jobs minister John Halligan this month. Alliance sources say they are eager to recruit the TD.

Mr Donnelly told the Irish Examiner Mr Halligan asked him to “sit down and have a chat” with the alliance about joining. He played down the significance of the discussion, but said he was considering his political future.

“John [Halligan] brought it up. Now I do have to think about the future. I’m not ruling anything in or out. I’m going to have a think about things over the holidays.”

The recruitment of Mr Donnelly would be seen as a big win for the five-member alliance. His economic expertise has impressed government figures, including Finance Minister Michael Noonan who acted on his concerns about companies avoiding tax in the budget.

The Wicklow TD left the Social Democrats in bitter circumstances in September, a year after he helped set up the party with Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy.

Mr Donnelly’s recruitment would bring to six the group’s number of TDs and it would give the coalition an extra vote in the Dáil.

Mr Donnelly said he would need to consult with supporters before making a decision: “It’s not just about joining the alliance, you’re also entering into government. It would be a big call.”

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Shane Ross and the alliance will meet Enda Kenny today to assess their relationship and the future.


Lifestyle

It won’t come as news to mothers-to-be that they are not eating for two, as the old saying goes, but the number of extra calories needed may come as a surprise. And it’s much fewer than you might think.Eating for two: It's quality not quantity of food that matters during pregnancy

No. It is such a small word, yet at times, something many of us find difficult to utter. The inability to say no to work, friends or family can cause so much stress in our lived lives.Learning Points: Just say no, there’s power in that little word

Fiona Kelleher has set some of the works of Múscraí poets Seán Ó Riordáin and Séamus Ó Céilleachair to music, writes Pet O'ConnellPoetry and music combine in reimagining of works of Seán Ó Riordáin and Séamus Ó Céilleachair

I fear I might be getting to that stage with my daughter Joan, who is 8, whereby I am the needy one! I fear I might be getting to that stage with my daughter Joan, who is 8, whereby I am the needy one!Mum's the word: I’m the needy one... I get the kiss off from my own daughter!

More From The Irish Examiner