No ‘goodies’ given to Independents to support FG – Richard Bruton

Mary Lou McDonald demands details of any deal now rather than have it emerge later

Mary Lou McDonald: The Sinn Féin TD asked ‘what was the price for the votes of the Independent Alliance’.

Mary Lou McDonald: The Sinn Féin TD asked ‘what was the price for the votes of the Independent Alliance’.

 

The Minister for Education has denied a claim that members of the Independent Alliance were given “goodies for their constituencies” in order to keep the Government afloat.

Richard Bruton said there was no special deal with the Alliance, Fine Gael’s partner in the minority administration, ahead of a confidence vote on Wednesday night brought about by the ongoing controversy over the handling of Garda whistleblowers.

In the Dáil on Thursday, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald asked “what was the price for the votes of the Independent Alliance Ministers” to keep the Government in power. She said there was a “suspicion that more was offered to the Independent Alliance in terms of goodies for their constituencies”.

Ms McDonald said it could have been another cath lab for Waterford for Minister of State John Halligan or a new Garda station in Stepaside for Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

She asked why the Independent Alliance was keeping “an incredibly incompetent Taoiseach” in power and queried when Enda Kenny would stand down.

Suits FF

Ms McDonald said there was no question as to why Fianna Fáil continued to support the Coalition.

“A weak Government suits Fianna Fáil until it is ready to pull the plug based on its own narrow electoral interests, ” she said. “Give us the detail in full of the deal reached with Independents.”

Mr Bruton said the “objective of this Government was set out in full in the programme for government”. He said the Coalition was using the steadily improving economy to improve people’s lives.

In addition, the Minister insisted that there was no special deal with the Independent Alliance. He said the the group had requested that an independent expert from overseas look at the processes in place in the Garda to improve oversight and see if they meet best international standards.

Ms McDonald said she found it “deeply implausible” that the Alliance agreed to that, and said that if they did, “I wonder about the clarity of their thought”.

She warned: “If there have been other things agreed with Independent TDs, you are as well to put that on the public record now rather than for it to come to light later”.

The Dublin Central TD repeated calls for the Minister to say when Mr Kenny would stand down as Taoiseach.

She said it was clear from media reports that Fine Gael did not trust Mr Kenny to run the party. “So how on earth do you trust him to run the Government?”