Fianna Fáil members want party to rule out Fine Gael coalition

Delegate tells ardfheis talk of party going into government is ‘arrogance beyond belief’

The same sex referendum and ruling out a coalition with Fine Gael provided the big talking points on the 76th edition of the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis. Michael O'Regan reports.

 

Delegates at the Fianna Fáil ardfheis have called on the party to publicly rule out going into government with Fine Gael after the next general election.

Ann Murphy, from Dublin Rathdown, who tabled the motion, told a poorly attended session on organisation on Saturday that she was a long-time member of the party.

She believed that from reading the newspapers a “certain element” within the parliamentary party were seriously thinking of going into government with Fine Gael.

“I do not want my vote, when I give it, to go to Fine Gael, because we differ completely on many, many major aspects of policy,” she added.

Fianna Fáil, unlike Fine Gael, she said, had always reached out to develop policies on education to create prosperity. She added it was a former Fianna Fáil minister, Donogh O’Malley, who was the first to provide education for the poor.

Another former Fiann Fáil minister, Dr Patrick Hillery, had introduced the regional colleges.

“Up to that, it was only the rich, or the extremely clever, who could go to third-level,” she added.

Ms Murphy said Fianna Fáil should wait for a few elections before considering going back into government.

“Our first aspiration should be to double our votes in the next election and to form responsible opposition, which we are doing at the moment,” she added.

Cork North Central delegate Amy Muller said the Dublin Rathdown motion was very absolute.

“We really have no indication as to how the result of the general election will go,” she added.

Offaly delegate Stephen Mather said that while he was opposed to going into government with Fine Gael, it was “arrogance beyond belief” to be talking at this stage about the issue.

“The people will decide on election day what the numbers are,” he added.

Delegates also passed a Donegal motion calling on Fianna Fail not to go into government after the election as a minority party.