Fianna Fáil tells Fine Gael it wants review of confidence-and-supply deal

Party representatives begin talks on possibly extending their Government accord

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has praised Fianna Fáil’s contribution to developments in recent years.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has praised Fianna Fáil’s contribution to developments in recent years.

 

Fianna Fáil has told Fine Gael it wants to review the existing confidence-and-supply deal to be sure any commitments made in an extension can be delivered.

Representatives of the two parties met in Leinster House on Thursday to begin talks on reviewing and possibly extending the deal which underpins the Fine Gael-led minority government.

Fianna Fáil is insisting the operation of confidence and supply since it was first struck in May 2016 must be reviewed, while Fine Gael is keen to move to the renegotiation of an extension as quickly as possible.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told his TDs and senators early this week that his negotiating team would be conscious of any stalling tactics by Fianna Fáil.

Sources said that at the first meeting in Leinster House, Fianna Fáil said it must be confident that any commitments given in an extended deal can be delivered upon. The party said it does not want to tie itself to any commitments that may not be unfulfilled.

The review of the current agreement would identify what had and had not been achieved since 2016 and explore whether any shortcomings were due to “blockages” in the political system, understood to mean at government level, or in the wider administrative system of the civil service.

For example, this would mean examining the issue of health overspending and the delivery of housing supply.

Discussions between the two parties on removing blockages in housing took place before the budget and are likely to be continued.

‘Recognise contribution’

Speaking at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards on Thursday evening, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he wanted to recognise the “contribution” of Fianna Fáil to the developments of recent years.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Michael McGrath, the party’s finance spokesman, were in the audience for Mr Donohoe’s speech.

“I particularly want to recognise the contribution of Deputy Martin and Deputy McGrath and his party to what has happened in recent years,” he said.

After the meeting, both parties released identical statements which read: “Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil met this afternoon to discuss the Confidence and Supply Agreement. It was a good constructive first meeting and both parties have agreed a schedule for next week.

“Both parties will exchange papers next Tuesday, October 30th and these will be reviewed. This will be followed by a full plenary meeting next Thursday, November 1.”

Fine Gael had initially organised a press conference for after the meeting, but this was cancelled after Fianna Fáil said they would not be doing likewise. Both sides agreed not to make any media comment.