Fianna Fáil confident Government programme will be passed despite another TD opposing it

John Lahart said the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme in his constituency are "dense, high-rise, build-to-rent developments... in a constituency where literally thousands of young adults were forced to return to the family home because they couldn’t afford rents in Dublin".
Fianna Fáil confident Government programme will be passed despite another TD opposing it
A number of Fianna Fáil TDs say that party leader Michéal Martin did not raise the article with John Lahart. Photo: PA
A number of Fianna Fáil TDs say that party leader Michéal Martin did not raise the article with John Lahart. Photo: PA

Fianna Fáil TDs remain confident that the programme for government will pass, despite a second TD announcing that they will vote against the deal.

Dublin South West TD John Lahart has said that despite the document, which is being voted on by his party's 18,000 members via postal ballot, having "a number of excellent proposals", he feels that the section on housing would be detrimental to his constituency. Mr Lahart joins Éamon Ó Cuív in opposing the deal.

Mr Lahart wrote in the Business Post that he takes particular issue with the lack of a study into a Metro South line and the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme, which allows developers to bypass local authorities and apply directly to An Bord Pleanála for planning permission.

He said the SHDs in his constituency are "dense, high-rise, build-to-rent developments... in a constituency where literally thousands of young adults were forced to return to the family home because they couldn’t afford rents in Dublin".

Mr Lahart said he believes Fianna Fáil should have spoken to Sinn Féin about forming a government and that he does not believe that there was no other option available.

"As an ordinary member of the party, I regret that we never considered alternatives. In politics, as in life, there are always alternatives."

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Lahart said he would "let the article speak for itself".

However, a number of TDs say they believe Mr Lahart's opinion remains the minority in the parliamentary party.

They say that party leader Michéal Martin did not raise the article with Mr Lahart, with one saying that "Michéal genuinely believes that each member should be allowed vote for themselves".

Limerick TD Niall Collins said that while he hasn't seen the article, "each member has to judge it for themselves and if someone has an alternative view, I welcome that".

Dublin North-West TD Paul McAuliffe also said that he hasn't seen the article, but said he personally would feel it "very difficult to walk away from this deal".

"Nearly everything that I had called for Fine Gael to change their minds on - be it the issue of scrambler bikes locally or nationally in housing - they have done in this document.

"The irony isn't lost on me that these changes will come from the people we asked to change it, but that's for Fine Gael to answer."

Mr McAuliffe said he believes calls for a national government are an attempt to distance parties from tough decisions.

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