Taoiseach wooing Healy-Rae and smaller parties as he looks to the future

Varadkar adopts benign Dáil approach to possible post-election supporters

Michael Healy-Rae: “The people want reassurance. They want to ensure that their children will be safe.’’ Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Michael Healy-Rae: “The people want reassurance. They want to ensure that their children will be safe.’’ Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

 

As Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael rule out a post-election coalition with Sinn Féin, the subtle wooing of Independents and smaller parties continues.

With Fine Gael unlikely to secure an overall majority these are the groups which could help make up the numbers to form a government after the next general election.

The Taoiseach’s replies to Dáil questions last week illustrated his more benign approach to them when contrasted with his responses to those certain not to support him.

Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae called for extra Garda resources in south Kerry, noting that a public meeting on this issue in Cahersiveen had been attended by more than 500 people. “The people want reassurance,’’ he added. “They want to ensure that their children will be safe.’’

The Taoiseach read from his extensive brief, reciting facts and figures. He concluded by saying he knew Mr Healy-Rae’s request had been made sincerely. “Given that this is such a serious matter, and I know the Deputy is so sincere, I will ask the Minister for Justice and Equality to relay the request to the Garda Commissioner for his consideration.’’

Housing crisis

Social Democrats’ TD Catherine Murphy referred to the housing crisis and the observation by the United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha, that Ireland was failing abysmally on the issue. She said Ms Farha had some “very tangible solutions’’ to our housing problems, and suggested the Taoiseach extend a formal invitation to her to visit Ireland.

“I will certainly give the Deputy’s suggestion consideration,’’ the Taoiseach replied.

Later, Independent Dublin Bay North TD Tommy Broughan suggested there was a growing breakdown of law and order, and asked what the Taoiseach was doing about it. There would be no circumstances in which Mr Broughan would support a Fine Gael-led government.

Dismissing Mr Broughan’s claim, the Taoiseach said: “As is often the case, the Deputy is out of date and misinformed.”