Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that there will be no “happy, clappy” Fine Gael endorsement of the new programme for government.
“It is a difficult leap for us,” he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerney show.
“This is really, really challenging for Fine Gael’s rank and file members.”
Mr Creed said that many members had difficulty when they looked back at the record of their putative partner in government.
“But it is time to look forward.”
When asked if it would be difficult for him to vote for Micheál Martin as Taoiseach, Mr Creed said yes he would find it difficult.
“It’s not an easy thing for us.” Fine Gael was at its best when dealing with big challenges like the financial crash, Brexit and Covid-19, he said.
Ultimately, there was a recognition within the party that this was a huge challenge. “It’s not easy, there is definite dissatisfaction within my own organisation.”
The “great socialist republic” alternative had not materialised, he said and “on balance” he felt this was the right thing to do.
Earlier, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that
Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, Ms McDonald said that the proposed new government would leave Sinn Féin in a very strong political position.
“They may succeed in slowing down the very necessary change that we need in our society but they won’t stop it,” she said.
“This will buy them some time, but I am absolutely convinced, that when it becomes apparent that we are getting more of the same in housing and health and all of the rest of it, that they are sticking to their old formula and their old failed ways of doing business, I think the appetite for change will grow again.”
Sinn Féin would provide “a very coherent, a very progressive, a very enlightened opposition” throughout the lifetime of the next government. "We will deliver on the mandate for change that we were given,” she said.