Fianna Fáil TDs 'worried' by government formation talks with Greens

Fianna Fáil TDs have voiced serious concern about entering government with the Greens at a private party meeting at which Eamon Ryan was described as “acting like an idiot”.
Fianna Fáil TDs 'worried' by government formation talks with Greens

Additional reporting: Juno McEnroe

Fianna Fáil TDs have voiced serious concern about entering government with the Greens at a private party meeting at which Eamon Ryan was described as “acting like an idiot”.

The news comes as the Green Party voted to enter formal talks about forming a government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil after a week of divisive internal wrangling.

But severe tensions are showing within Micheál Martin’s party about what impact a new coalition involving the Greens would mean for their grassroots.

The video conference meeting, held on Friday afternoon as the government announced the roadmap to exit from Covid-19 restrictions, was dominated by concerns by TDs and Senators that the Greens are seeking to “take the lifestyle” of rural farmers.

Niall Collins, TD for Limerick, was among a number of TDs who voiced concern about the compatibility of his party with the Greens.

Addressing his party leader, Mr Collins singled out Mr Ryan and his laying down the 7% carbon emission reduction as a “red-line” for entering government.

“I don’t expect you to start engaging in rhetoric in the way Eamon Ryan made an idiot of himself last week talking about red lines,” Mr Collins said.

Citing the Shannon LNG power plant project, he called on his leader to “stop being halfway behind the door” and come out in support of it. The Green Party is opposed to the project going ahead. At this point, Galway TD Eamon O Cuiv voiced similar concerns about the Green Party’s opposition to the planned by-pass of Galway City.

“We have the same problem with the by-pass in Galway,” said Eamon O Cuiv. “It is clear from what the Greens are saying, they are putting the boot in and many people are very unhappy about it,” he said.

Kerry TD Norma Foley told her colleagues that “there is a growing anxiety as to what it would mean in terms of going in with the Greens”.

“I come from a rural constituency, what will the impact be on rural Ireland if we do a deal with the Greens. I heard Catherine Martin on radio and there was a reluctance to spell out exactly what the impact is on rural Ireland,” she said.

Ned O’Sullivan, the Kerry-based Senator said the “fundamentalist Greens do pose a threat to what we call normal life in rural Ireland.”

“The reaction to the Greens list is very strong in Kerry. I was surprised the lack of hostility to going in with “the old enemy” but in rural Ireland the concept of dealing with the greens is causing far more concern and is seen as “not the optimal choice.”

“There is a worry in the farming community that the Greens are going to take their lifestyle,” he said.

Kilkenny TD John McGuinness and Senator Fiona O’Loughlin expressed concern that Fine Gael, citing Simon Coveney’s rebuff of the Greens in the Irish Examiner, as a means of orchestrating a second election.

The possibility of a snap autumn election was raised by junior Fine Gael ministers, several of whom are opposed to Green Party demands to cut emissions by 7% as part of any coalition deal.

At the meeting, Mr Martin rejected strong criticism of his failure to communicate effectively enough the party’s red lines. “I don’t accept that, don’t accept that at all,” he said.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner yesterday, Mr Martin said he supports the Green demands for a 7% cut in emissions.

“I think we are all in favour of climate change. We are all in favour of the targets set by the European Union and United Nations.

“It can be done and it can be reconciled to our commitment to food security and agriculture. The two are not necessarily exclusive at all.

Asked then was the Green 7% target achievable, Mr Martin answered: “Yes, I am committed to achieving that. I do think we have to accept that the measures to achieve that have to be gone through. But we have to commit to that target.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.