Fianna Fáil, both governing and in opposition… October 14, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
In advance of budget day Prime Time made it known to the parties that the traditional [debate] format would not apply and instead proposed a head-to-head debate between Noonan and Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty as the spokesman for the largest party actually opposing the budget.
Fianna Fáil was furious. They argued that by virtue of being the largest party not in Government they were the ones who should provide the counterweight to public debate with the Government on the budget.
FG wasn’t too keen to debate SF either. Anyhow, as Whelan relates a broader debate was organised with voices across the political spectrum. Initially FG balked but ultimately accepted:
The configurations of a particular Prime Time panel is not significant in itself but it is a moment which illustrates prominently the peculiar and precarious position Fianna Fáil now finds itself in. It seeks to exercise its mandate and grow its support by simultaneously claiming credit for having shaped policy on some aspects of Government action, and yet wants to be seen to lead the Opposition to that Government. Fianna Fáil wants to negotiate the budget in private with the Government in meeting rooms, but at the same time wants to front the Opposition to it in TV studios. Then TDs want to do no more than abstain on that which they oppose in the Dáil chamber.