Political opponents criticise confidence and supply extension

The Confidence and Supply Agreement has been extended for one budget and an election will be held in early 2020 after deal reached between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

Political opponents criticise confidence and supply extension

Political representatives have criticised the main opposition party after it announced it would extend the confidence and supply arrangement with the Government for another year.

It was announced on Wednesday after weeks of discussion that the Fine Gael Government would continue with the support the country’s second biggest party, Fianna Fail, until 2020 due to Brexit’s impact on Ireland.

Tánaiste and Fine Gael deputy leader Simon Coveney hailed the “maturity” of opposition leader Micheal Martin and said the deal ensures “certainty for at least another year, probably more”.

Sinn Fein’s leader Mary Lou McDonald labelled the negotiations as “political theatre” and said it was “astonishing that Fianna Fail have agreed to keep Fine Gael in government for another year without achieving one additional thing”.

“They seem happy to have more of the same, the same failures.

“All the things Micheal Martin apparently had a problem with, apparently now he has no problem with,” she said.

“The truth is you can’t be in government and opposition at the same time.

“It is clear he (Martin) has full confidence in Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, and will have achieved nothing by way of additionality, and will ensure that government continues on.”

After the 2016 general election, Fianna Fail agreed to support Fine Gael in power for three budgets, by committing to not bring down the Government or vote against key votes.

However it remains unclear whether Fianna Fail received any new commitments from the Government for extension, Mr Martin said that there was “disagreement on issues of delivery” but they would continue to keep the government under pressure.

There is no new document or agreement, the current document in relation to confidence and supply is still in use.

Similarly, Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin was quick to criticise Fianna Fail for entering into an extended agreement.

“The six weeks of the labours of Hercules have produced exactly nothing,” he said.

“Apparently there is to be a deal with no consequences, no requirements, all the analysis about the failures in housing and health are meaningless because there is no new target to be set, conditions to be met, it is a blank cheque being signed for a Government that’s doing very little by common consensus.

“The Taoiseach is looking for a mandate and can’t bring himself to ask for one.

“We’ve had a period of inaction, we need to address fundamental issues confronting us, on housing and healthcare and inequality in society generally.”

The current Irish government has come under criticism domestically for the ongoing homeless crisis, lack of affordable housing, hospital waiting lists and what political opponents call “rising inequality”.- Press Association

No election until 2020 as confidence and supply deal extended

Earlier: Fianna Fáil have agreed a deal to keep the Government in power for another year.

A General Election in early 2020 is now on the cards after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin agreed to extend the Confidence and Supply deal.

Citing the threat and chaos Brexit poses Mr Martin said "business as usual is not acceptable" and while in normal times it would be the "right thing" to call a General Election he said the national interests must be put ahead of party interests.

"In normal times there would be no issue. An election now would be the right thing for our country," Mr Martin told the Dáil.

"These are not normal times and Ireland is immediately confronted with one of the biggest threats for many decades."

He said an election campaign followed by Government formation talks would take up a lengthy period at a critical time for this country.

Mr Martin said: "Fianna Fáil is determined that the political chaos we see in London will not be allowed to spread to Ireland.

"We simply do not believe that the national interest could in any way be served by taking up to four months during next year to schedule and hold an election campaign and then form a government.

"With business and communities already fearful about the impact of Brexit and with Ireland manifestly not ready for many of the potential outcomes, how could it possibly be in the national interest to have extended political uncertainty next year?

"This is why Fianna Fáil will extend a guarantee that government will be able to operate throughout 2019. This will allow the introduction of any emergency legislation and budgets, as well as the full end of year Budget and associated legislation. This will in turn allow the holding of an election early in the following year.

"Free of Brexit uncertainty there can be an election about the need for a new approach to housing, about ending systematic political failures in health and about addressing the needs of people who want a government which understands their concerns."

Mr Martin said this decision had been reached reluctantly but said it was unavoidable.

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