TDs and senators back ‘best achievable’ programme for government

Crucially, Catherine Martin, the Green Party deputy leader, has supported the deal

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green TDs and Senators all gave their backing to the draft programme for government agreed between their three parties last night, with their wider party organisations now set to give their verdict on the five-year plan.

The three parliamentary parties all backed the deal at separate meetings, although three of the 12 Green Party TDs abstained.

However, crucially, Catherine Martin, the Green Party deputy leader, supported the deal. Ms Martin is challenging Eamon Ryan for the leadership of the party.

The Dublin Rathdown TD led the Green negotiating team and her support is seen as pivotal to securing the required two-thirds support of rank-and-file Green members in order for the party to enter government.

In a statement released after the meeting, Ms Martin said: “There were never going to be, nor could there have been, outright winners in these negotiations and clearly we did not get everything we sought. I am however satisfied that the deal negotiated was the best achievable and that it includes some worthwhile and transformative policies.

“If the Green Party enters government, our overriding concern will be with verifiable implementation of our policies. No member of the Green Party would wish to belong to a government that’s not enthusiastically and realistically delivering a green agenda. It is vital to ensure that our party’s independence and core values are never undermined or weakened by participation in government.”

The Green TDs who abstained were Francis Noel Duffy, Patrick Costello and Neasa Hourigan.

Internal ratification

Fianna Fáil and the Greens will seek the assent of their members on a one member, one vote basis, while Fine Gael's internal ratification process will be on the basis of an electoral college. It is estimated that about 15,000 Fianna Fáil members will be entitled to vote, and about 2,500 in the Greens. The Greens will hold a video conference to discuss the deal this Thursday.

Fine Gael TDs, Senators and MEPs make up 50 per cent of the voting strength, followed by 25 per cent for constituency delegates, 15 per cent for councillors and 10 per cent for the executive council.

Ballot papers will be issued in the coming days, with the results of each contest expected to be announced on Friday, June 26th.

Sources said it is then likely, if the deal passes each party, that the Dáil will sit on Saturday, June 27th, to elect Micheál Martin taoiseach.

The programme for government says that Mr Martin will serve as taoiseach until December 15th, 2022, when the Fine Gael leader will then take over the role.

Speaking after his own party meeting last night, Mr Martin said the deal would now go to the party membership for a postal vote after a “very strong endorsement” from his party.

He said there were strong contributions at a meeting of the parliamentary party in relation to housing, agriculture and farming. There was also support for the investment in cycling, railways and greenways.

Mr Martin said he was receiving strong messages of support from members of the party in constituencies across the country.

“One of the messages emanating from the parliamentary party meeting this evening was that the TDs and Senators want to go out there now and engage with the membership to persuade the members of the strength of this document, its relevance to where people are today in their lives, and the need to get it passed, and a government formed.”

Mr Varadkar said a Fine Gael taoiseach would lead this government into the next election in 2025. He also highlighted what he said was a strong package on jobs, the economy and tax in the deal.