Government formation: FF/FG response to Green Party 'very vague' on key points

The first impressions of the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil response from the Green Party membership have been "fairly poor", according to a senior source within the party.
Government formation: FF/FG response to Green Party 'very vague' on key points

The first impressions of the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil response from the Green Party membership have been "fairly poor", according to a senior source within the party.

The document, sent to Eamon Ryan and his members late on Tuesday night, laid out responses to the Green Party's 17 queries to the possible coalition partners on their priorities for the next government.

The Green Party had already set out in the last few weeks that their main red line would be a 7% reduction in emissions, which according to members was responded to in "very vague language", with the response from Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin noting they would like "tease out and try and understand” how to reduce emissions through further government formation talks.

The response on climate targets has been singled out as the biggest concern for Green Party members on Wednesday.

"It's a fairly poor response," one source said.

"I'm not sure how much clearer the party needed to be in terms of the 7%, it was a red line for even entering discussion.

"The negotiating tactic from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is; 'We'll come in and negotiate already agreed targets and paint it as a concession to you'.

"They talk about further consultation and this kind of thing, but we had a Citizen's Assembly and an Oireachtas committee, we've done plenty of consultation and that's been viewed suspiciously as a delay and kicking the can down the road.

"It's has gone down very poorly, the feeling is it doesn't even warrant a discussion.

"You'd worry if this is how obstructive they are being at this stage, what it'll be like in government, what would they be like in cabinet behind closed doors? The carry on that they would be at."

Another issue of concern is the response on housing, as the homeless crisis shows no sign of abating, and the Green Party have stated their wish to see increased public housing on public land to resolve the issue.

The response from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael states that although home ownership is a priority for both parties; "We believe public land should benefit all the public not just those who qualify for social or dental schemes. We would not like to see people who want to own their home be the only ones frozen out.”

"It's very vague, in housing in particular, you can see it's very much business as usual," the source added.

It's not really a significant change and I think the feeling is, if anything resembling this response was put to Green members, it would fail and fail badly.

"We're seeing now that members who were originally open to government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are speaking against the document."

Green Party Councillor in Cork City South East Lorna Bogue said the comments on housing "is where the mask really slips".

"Our cost rental model is open to all. Misinterpreting (either wilfully or through ignorance) our policy, then complaining that we ask too much for people who need public housing is disturbing," she said.

On social media, prominent councillors such as Peter Kavanagh from south Dublin criticised the document's language on climate, and councillor Peter Hamilton in Maynooth-Kilcock labelled the letter as "foot dragging already".

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