FF and FG agree historic policy document for coalition
Framework document to pave the way for a ‘full and equal partnership’
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on Tuesday to sign off on the framework document. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have agreed a historic joint policy document to pave the way for a “full and equal partnership” for five years.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on Tuesday to sign off on a framework document that contains commitments on Sláintecare, State-funded childcare and affordable housing as well as plans to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.
Members of the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil parliamentary parties will be briefed on the agreement on Wednesday afternoon and it is expected the framework will then be sent to smaller parties. Party votes on the proposals are unlikely to be held until a full programme for government is agreed in the coming weeks.
There is also an understanding that Fianna Fáil will hold the role of taoiseach in the first period of government. Discussions around other senior ministerial positions have also been held.
Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan has said her party will carefully examine the proposals but indicated that clear timelines must be placed on all commitments.
“We are keeping our minds open. Let’s read it and go through it and take it from there,” she said.
Co-leader of the Social Democrats Catherine Murphy said she would take some time to consider the framework although party sources played down any potential involvement in government formation talks.
The Labour Party has said it wants to go into opposition although there is understood to be a “growing minority” who believe exploratory talks should be held in the coming weeks.
In a message sent to members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party on Tuesday, chairman Martin Heydon wrote: “The Taoiseach has asked me to inform the parliamentary party that he met Micheál Martin earlier today and that they have agreed a policy framework document that could form the basis for a programme for government.
“They reaffirmed their commitment to forming a majority government of three or more parties/groups that will last five years with full and equal partnership between FG and FF at its centre.”
In an identical statement both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil said: “Both leaders met this morning and agreed the framework document. Both leaders will brief their respective parliamentary parties tomorrow.”
Separately the Fine Gael party has identified “seven tests” that any future coalition must pass if a government is to be formed.
The first priority will be that nothing should distract “from the central task of protecting our people during the present Covid-19 crisis”.
The party has said that a new social contract must be developed “which embraces all sectors and communities and responds to the new risks and costs of living which are creating concern in people’s lives”.
This will include “a clear contract for the young who have borne many burdens in recent years”.