Fine Gael TDs want economic ‘realism’, Coveney told

Tanaiste Simon Coveney has been told by Fine Gael figures that there must be “realism” and prudence in any economic plans after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fine Gael TDs want economic ‘realism’, Coveney told
Speaking during a party reference group over the government formation talks with Fianna Fail and the Greens, Mr Coveney was optimistic about a deal being done in the days ahead, sources have said.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney has been told by Fine Gael figures that there must be “realism” and prudence in any economic plans after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking during a party reference group over the government formation talks with Fianna Fail and the Greens, Mr Coveney was optimistic about a deal being done in the days ahead, said sources.

Negotiations are now speeding up as key policy areas are hammered out between sides ahead of an expectation next week of an agreement for the three party leaders to assess.

Negotiators met again yesterday and held what party sources described as “productive” sessions on health and energy among areas.

Disability policies were also discussed while transport and the economy are expected to dominate the early part of this week between the sides.

At a special reference group online meeting last night, Mr Coveney, sources confirmed, gave an optimistic assessment of the negotiations. But he was also told by figures of the group, which includes ministers, MEPs and councillors, that members must be kept informed in the coming days.

Furthermore, he was told there must be realism and prudence in any economic plan after the pandemic, sources confirmed.

The parties yesterday convened a plenary session of the negotiating teams in order to lay out the remaining subjects due to be discussed.

Sources said that the pace of talks is increasing and the negotiating groups are aiming to have the text of the programme for government signed early next week.

That would mean the country could have a permanent government in place by the end of June, if the programme is approved by the members of all three parties.

Meanwhile, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has left the door open on looking for the position of Tanaiste in the government formation talks. He told RTE that he had no interest being Taoiseach, as part of a rotating position in government.

However, when quizzed about potentially being Tanaiste, he didn't rule it out:

“It’s not something I’ve considered or talked to the party about, but let’s wait until the end of the process.”

Nonetheless, his position throws into question how any rotating agreement for Taoiseach between Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin will work. It had been assumed that the two would alternate taking on the deputy government leader position of Tanaiste.

Mr Ryan refused to be drawn on the exact numbers of Cabinet positions the Green party would want as part of an agreement to form a government. Cabinet posts will only come into play when there is a sense of “getting people working.”

He said he was not concerned about his party’s leadership, after deputy leader Catherine Martin said last week that she was considering running for the role.

It was part of their rules that the issue would be discussed within six months of a general election, said Mr Ryan, adding:

“That’s how we do things, last week Catherine said she was focused on the talks for government formation. That’s the first task.”

Mr Ryan said he and Ms Martin talk every day and had in the past discussed the leadership issue. If she were to become leader of the party, he would work with her, he said. He had not been aware of the letter circulated by some Green party councillors last week. “But that’s not something that threw me.”

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.