Independents call on FF and FG to reopen talks on government if current deal fails
Some TDs say new deal could be brokered in a week amid concerns Green Party members may reject programme for government
Independent Sean Canney: “I am always open to discussing the formation of a government.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
Independent TDs have called on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to reopen negotiations on a programme for government if the current deal fails in Friday’s vote.
Some TDs have said a new deal could be brokered within a week amid concern that Green Party members may reject the programme for government.
Galway East TD Sean Canney said he believes a new deal could be done quickly with the two bigger parties if the Green Party decides it does not want to partake in government.
“As an Independent I made it clear that I am always open to discussing the formation of a government, and if the opportunity arises participating on a partnership basis rather than an add-on basis. I wouldn’t like to pre-empt the outcome, but I have ideas on how it could be done and it could be done very fast.”
Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said he would “absolutely” be willing to enter talks aimed at forming a government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
“The Taoiseach, as far as I’m concerned, has no right if this falls through to get into his car and go to the Áras. Rather than plunging the country into an election there are other options. First of all there is the elephant in room which is the Labour Party. Then there is the Regional Independent group, the Rural Independent group. There are other players here.”
He said the Green Party was looking for a review of the programme for government before it had even entered government.
“Talk about the tail wagging the dog. So there is no way in the world we would be coming in and rubber stamping what they’ve done already. We would have to sit down and come up with a new framework.”
Danny Healy-Rae said he would be “entertaining very little of what the Greens were proposing”, and said Independent TDs were “well placed to be part of a government”.
Waterford TD Matt Shanahan said he believed a new deal between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Independents could be struck within a week.
“I am willing to sit down and discuss a programme for government, absolutely. We held meetings previously, and fed in our thoughts there. There are people in our group who have previously carried out negotiations to enter government in short order. It could be done in a matter of less than a week.”
Kildare South TD and former Army Ranger Cathal Berry also said he would be willing to potentially make up part of the next government, and said “militarily speaking you are expected to lead, you are not expected to stay on the sidelines”.
“If you want to effect change you get involved. Most people are taking a wait-and-see approach to this, but there might be a frantic scramble after Friday.”
Cork South West TD Michael Collins said while Independents have been treated “shoddily” in the negotiations to date, his door was open to potential further talks. “Any politician worth their salt will have their door open.”
He said there would need to be changes to the document in areas such as the planned increase of carbon tax.
Clare TD Michael McNamara said he would not limit talks to just Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, indicating that Sinn Féin could form part of the equation if the other two parties dropped their objections to entering talks with them.
Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath said his preference would be for a national unity government to be put back on the table, but he confirmed he was also open to talks, as is Sligo-Leitrim TD Marian Harkin and Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
His constituency colleague Denis Naughten, who is the convener of the regional group of Independents, said the group’s position since the beginning has not changed and it is willing to speak with other parties.
Donegal TD Thomas Pringle said any government that involves Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael l “does not represent progress”.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said he did not see the point in re-entering negotiations unless there was “a radical change in direction”.