Fine Gael accept that Martin will be next taoiseach

Several Fine Gael ministers have conceded that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will be the next taoiseach, when a government is eventually concerned.
Fine Gael accept that Martin will be next taoiseach

Several Fine Gael ministers have conceded that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will be the next taoiseach, when a government is eventually concerned.

While Mr Martin has stressed that he and Leo Varadkar “have an understanding” as to what would pan out should a government be formed, leading Fine Gael figures have stated their personal belief that Fianna Fáil will take over the taoiseach’s office.

“Every is working on the basis it will be Micheál going first. Yes, Leo has had a good crisis but the fact he is the leader of the smaller party, even marginally so, is important. From a perception point of view, it makes sense to let Micheál go first,” a minister said.

The comments come as Simon Coveney and Dara Calleary, as deputy leaders of their parties, will meet with representatives of the independent groups on Monday for what have been described as “initial talks on framework document”.

“There are no ties,” said a source.

Ahead of the talks, Independent TD for Galway East Seán Canney said the group would sit down and try to work out a programme for Government with costings.

He said: “As a group we will try to sit down and try to find agreement to help out. It’s better to be inside Government than outside criticising.”

“The Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael policy document is a mission statement we must leave that there now and try to start building brick on brick a programme for Government which will show costings and timelines.”

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said: “Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will meet two groups of independents on Monday: the Regional Independents and the Technical Group of Independents. “We are open to Independents being a full part of Government as part of a formal agreement.”

“The leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil wrote to the leaders of the Green Party, Labour Party and Social Democrats, and the convenors of the three independent groups, inviting them to meet after considering the framework document. We look forward to their responses.”

“We believe a third party is essential in any Government in addition to independents,” the spokesman said..

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has said he had reservations about Fine Gael entering a coalition with Fianna Fáil.

“Maybe it’s the particular strain of Fianna Fáil that I’ve been dealing with it at a constituency level that makes it quite challenging to kind of contemplate government with Fianna Fáil,“ he told the Business Post.

However, Mr Creed said he absolutely recognised the country needed a government and his party needed to be prepared “to step outside that comfort zone”.

He warned if the smaller parties keep avoiding the responsibility of creating a government, the country would be facing another election.

“The parliamentary arithmetic is very obvious, and this situation can’t go on forever. If we fail to put a government together, then there’s no choice but to have another election,” he said.

His colleague Health Minister Simon Harris has urged parties not to look back on this crisis seeing themselves ‘standing on the sidelines’.

Mr Harris has called on the smaller parties in the Dáil — the Green Party, the Social Democrats and Labour — to come to the country’s aid in this time of crisis and join a coalition government. Mr Harris spoke to the members of the Green Party, the Labour Party and any other groupings that are possible coalition partners but reluctant to sign up for talks.

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