Mayor calls for talks on possible Fianna Fáil, Labour merger

A prominent member of the Labour Party has said active consideration should be given to a possible merger between Labour and Fianna Fáil as it could help restore some stability to the country.

Mayor of Killarney Cllr Seán Counihan said he would welcome negotiations between the parties to help stem the threat posed by those he described as being on the extreme left of Irish politics.

“My fear is that the raft of independents we now have and smaller parties on the very far left will further injure the stability of the country.

“We need a proper, strong left in this country like there is all over Europe and a Labour and Fianna Fáil amalgamation could possibly provide that.”

Cllr Counihan, a lifelong Labour member, said that there were no insurmountable policy differences between the two parties and the time was right for politics in Ireland to be realigned in the long-term interests of the country.

“Down through the years Fianna Fáil has always claimed it is a party for the working people, just like Labour is,” he said.

“History opens up certain opportunities at different times and that could now be the case.”

The tourist town mayor said many former Fianna Fáil members no longer wanted to be associated with the party given the serious corruption that had been exposed in tribunals and they might be happy to come under the Labour Party banner.

“This might provide an opportunity for their party to cleanse itself properly by merging with Labour which had no case to answer in any of the tribunals.

“There are many people in Fianna Fáil who are very strong trade union supporters and many think like those in Labour.”

Cllr Counihan said lessons could be learned from Labour’s merger with Democratic Left and how successful that alliance became.

“I know that a lot of people were horrified when Dick Spring went into coalition with Fianna Fáil but this country is now at an important crossroads and we must do something.

“If it can’t happen then it can’t happen but all I’m saying is that it might be worth discussing.

“Fianna Fáil are low in the opinion polls and Labour are dropping a few points as well so the timing might be good.”

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