To the country again? Tánaiste Simon Coveney (left) and pictured with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, has warned that a failure to agree to a three-party government supportive of the proposed Programme for Government could lead to another general election. The last one was in February. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Anthony Neeson
Ireland could be facing into a second general election this year Tánaiste Simon Coveney has warned, this if the Green Party membership rejects going into coalition with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
With the two main parties expected to back the Programme for Government – although there is some notable disaffection from the Fianna Fáil rank and file – the Green Party leadership needs a sixty-six percent majority of its members to vote in favor of the document.
It’s believed the vote, which will be announced on Friday evening, June 26, is on a knife-edge.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
Tánaiste Coveney has warned that it’s make your mind up time and that the country needed a strong government.
“Certainly we’re going to have a lot of political uncertainty and given the economic uncertainty and the public health challenges that the country faces at the moment, the last thing we need is uncertainty from our political system,” he said.
“What I’m saying to people in my own party, but also in Fianna Fáil and the Greens, is let’s be part of the solution here; the solution being a progressive, strong, majority-based government.”
Mr. Coveney said he would rule nothing out, including a new election. He said that there were people in his own party who “still find it difficult to contemplate going into government with Fianna Fáil in particular.”
Up to two thousand Green Party members from throughout the Ireland can vote. Leader Eamon Ryan has described the Programme for Government document as a “left wing document.” He added that it would be “very hard for us to go back to the negotiating table” if the party rejects it.
His case hasn’t been helped by the Green Party leader in Northern Ireland, Clare Bailey, who has called for a no vote.
Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuiv has called for his party colleagues to reject the Programme for Government.
Writing to party members he said: “It is my regret that, if we enter this coalition, we will hasten the demise of our party and once again create a political system with two large parties, but that Fianna Fáil will not be one of them.”
“I strongly believe that we should reject the PFG because of the role that I believe Fianna Fáil can play in the future as a major political force in creating a just and equitable society based on ideals of a peaceful and constitutional government.”