Time for a grand coalition
Sir, – As a consequence of the effective three-way tie between Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, with resulting possible coalition variations, including a left-wing alternative that is likely to fall short in numbers (“McDonald seizes initiative by reaching out to smaller parties”, News, February 11th), it is imperative that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael actively pursue a grand coalition to be possibly aided by the Green Party and/or Labour.
In the circumstances of near parity in seats, the novelty of a rotating taoiseach option (speculated upon on many occasions previously such as in 1989 by then-Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes following the election in that year), together with a near-equal number of Cabinet seats shared between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, would in fact be an entirely appropriate pragmatic outcome following Saturday’s vote.
The possibility of a confidence-and-supply agreement and going into Opposition as opposed to entering a grand coalition ought to be dispreferred as far as Fine Gael are concerned. A core demand for any participation in coalition ought to be an insistence on Fine Gael retaining foreign affairs plus a department of finance or public expenditure and reform portfolio in terms of cabinet posts.
Such an unprecedented configuration would diminish the otherwise very real possibility of another general election being called later this year.
In this Decade of Centenaries perhaps the greatest reconciliation of all would be for the Civil War parties to finally share government together and work in the national interest together as further Brexit-related upheaval looms. – Yours, etc,
Cllr JOHN KENNEDY,
c/o Dún Laoghaire