Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green parliamentary parties endorse programme for government
Three Green Deputies abstain including Francis Noel Duffy, husband of Catherine Martin who backs the deal
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan at Government Buildings on Monday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party’s parliamentary parties endorsed the programme for government deal on Monday night. However, three of the 12 Green Party TDs abstained when the Greens’ vote was taken.
That meant that nine Green TDs backed the agreement, including deputy leader Catherine Martin. The three who abstained were Neasa Hourigan, Patrick Costello and Francis Noel Duffy, who is married to Ms Martin.
A two-thirds majority of the Greens’ parliamentary party was required to endorse the deal and it was achieved. However, the fact that three of the 12 TDs abstained will make it a more difficult for the party to get the two-thirds majority required when the deal is voted on by the party membership, who must now ratify it for the party to enter government.
Ms Martin said the party did not get all it required in the government negotiations, but she was satisfied the deal negotiated was the “best achievable”.
She said the country now needed stability and political certainty “at a time the national health emergency continues to cause loss, untold heartbreak and suffering”.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan spoke to his colleagues at the meeting and strongly endorsed the deal. He conceded the party did not get everything it wanted, but said that the programme provided a springboard for a green transformation of Irish society.
In a statement released following the three-hour meeting, which was held virtually, the party said that indicative votes were also taken of the Green Party’s Senators, MEPs and one MLA. The group, including indicative votes, recorded 13 votes in favour and four abstentions.
Final Draft Programme For Government
“[Party] members who register for an online special convention or who apply for an absentee ballot will now have the opportunity to vote on the programme for government,” it said.
The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party also endorsed the proposed programme for government on Monday night, with a majority of members speaking in favour of the deal.
Party leader Micheál Martin said the deal would now go to the party membership for a postal vote after a “very strong endorsement” from his parliamentary party.
He said there were strong contributions at Monday’s meeting of the parliamentary party in relation to housing and agriculture.
He said there was also support for 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.”
The Fine Gael parliamentary party was overwhelmingly in favour of the deal, although Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring strongly attacked Fianna Fáil.
Mr Ring, a TD for Mayo, said Fianna Fáil had bankrupted the country and asked about the costings for the programme for government.
He also said that, as a Minister, he found it hard to get funding from Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe but the Greens were getting €1 million a day for cycling and walking infrastructure.
He is also said to have attacked Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary, also a Mayo TD, and Micheál Martin, claiming they are not the “new stars” people think they are.
On the issue of carbon emissions targets, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that most of the reductions would come in the latter half of this decade, with preparations coming in the first half.
Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly said he would back the deal, although he had concerns about the halting of the Shannon LNG project as requested by the Greens.