Last its The Independents April 22, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
Should a FF/FG deal fall into place (and I actually think it’s unlikely… FG could offer FF the full FF Manifesto and they still would have doubts about supporting them). For many in FF even doing a deal with FG is an anathema to them. It also sets a precedent of agreement between the parties at a National level. I also think that after the next election should FF be larger than FG and no other Government option available it’s likely that FG will look for a coalition/partnership deal rather than the type of deal FF are offering at the moment.
Even were the deal to fall into place, I can’t see Labour , The Greens or any other party wanting to be formally involved. (Were the Greens involved it would leave in effect 3 Gov TDs and one half in half out FFer in Dublin Bay South)…. Yes there will be a lot of ‘responsible’ and ‘constructive’ voices and votes from the opposition benches but I doubt they would involve themselves in Government. Which of course having somehow done a deal with FF leaves FG looking to bag a number of Independents.
The focus on The Independents will suit almost all the parties as the Independents will now be the ones that force an election if they don’t come on board. They can be cast as anti everything and not willing to “Step up to the plate” when needed.
Fine Gael appear to have two already lined up in Michael Lowry and Katherine Zappone. Ideally though they would need another 8. It seems that they will have to get them from this pool.
Michael Fitzmaurice, Shane Ross, John Halligan, Sean Canney, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran ,Finian McGrath
Dr Michael Harty, Denis Naughten ,Michael Collins ,Noel Grealish ,Mattie McGrath
Then we have Maureen O’Sullivan and the Brothers Healy-Rae.
What though will be on offer? In this world of ‘New Politics’ we are told that there won’t be any deals done with the Independents. Will many want to be Ministers (and being away from their constituency more often ). ?
So for all their bluster about Government formation the two Healy-Raes won’t touch Government. John Halligan won’t get the Cardiac unit in Waterford.Another one who was prominent calling for a Government was Mattie McGrath, I can’t see him joining up either.
There is of course going to be a game of political chicken from the Independents. They will surely all want to be the last part of the jigsaw, last in may get the best deal.
Denis Naughten was on Prime Time last night talking generalities re ‘Rural Ireland’ and having no preconditions. He was asked would he demand a Ministerial post?
So who would want a Ministerial position and how many would they get? Shane Ross surely, Denis Naughten, Dr Harty may want a Junior Ministry in Health with responsibility for Rural Doctors, Michael Fitzmaurice will want to be there, Finian McGrath and Maureen O’Sullivan probably would too. Katherine Zappone will be wanting a position also. Any others?
Once Ministries are doled out… what could tie the rest of the Independents to the Government? Reopen a few rural Garda Stations? Flood prevention measures for Bandon, Athlone etc to be fast tracked?
It’s going to be tough to cobble all that together and there will be some amount of brinkmanship. Of the above list of Independents quite a few would be in danger though if another election was called…… I wonder are many hoping that FF/FG can’t agree a deal?..
I wonder too if any arrangement with Independents will have to be passed by Fianna Fail.