An ousted Labour TD has claimed voters will be given “one of the greatest snubs in history” if his party returns to power with Fine Gael.
Former Clare TD Michael McNamara insisted party leader Joan Burton must turn down any requests from Enda Kenny to join a new government, amid continuing speculation the outgoing coalition could be set for a dramatic comeback.
In recent days, it has emerged that Fine Gael is seeking the help of Labour’s seven remaining TDs to build a more stable minority government than one based on Independents’ support.
The plan would give Fine Gael greater security from Fianna Fáil attacks, while allowing Labour to introduce key party policies, such as a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
Crucially, it would also mean Ms Burton and deputy leader Alan Kelly would not automatically face a leadership challenge, triggered under Labour’s constitution within six months of leaving government.
Senior Labour figures said that while talks have been held with Fine Gael, the potential return of the outgoing coalition is simply an option.
However, speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr McNamara said that no agreement should even be considered, in the light of the election result. Insisting that such a coalition would have no mandate, he said if Fine Gael and Labour return to power, voters will be given “one of the greatest snubs in history”.
The view was backed by other former TDs including Robert Dowds, Ann Phelan, Anne Ferris, Michael McCarthy, and Joe Costello.
However, former Labour leader Ruairi Quinn said a deal — which would need to be backed by a Labour national conference — should be considered to prevent a “right-wing government”.
Suggestions of a Fine Gael-Labour return occurred as leaked figures yesterday claimed Independents want €13bn of policy changes, with unaligned TDs last night alleging both moves are a Fine Gael negotiation tactic.
Meanwhile, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said his party is likely to only back a minority government from opposition and will not join any rainbow coalition.
Despite campaigning to remove Fine Gael-Labour, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin — whose party is set to discuss Irish Water with Fine Gael over the next 24 hours — said it is not his job to “dictate” who forms the minority government.
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