A SCATHING attack has been launched on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil by Clare’s Independent TD, who is accusing them of using Coronavirus concerns as a cover for a potential coalition government.
Senior figures in both parties have this week stepped up talks on government formation, with care-taker Taoiseach Leo Varadkar citing “a dramatic change in context” because of Covid 19.
Deputy Michael McNamara is one of a number of deputies, including Fianna Fáil’s own Éamon Ó Cuiv, who has called instead for a type of grand coalition involving most or all of the major parties, with a view to addressing the public health emergency.
“I would be prepared to support a national coalition government which might be in place for a limited period, in order to address the threat posed by Coronavirus. That doesn’t look likely, unfortunately. What we have instead is a rather cynical move the FF and FG to use the fact that this horrible virus is spreading and that panic is spreading, as a fig leaf for their coalition.”
The Scariff-based TD also took issue with the ongoing exclusion of Sinn Féin from talks with the other two big parties. “I’m obviously not a member of Sinn Féin, but what I can say about them is that they have ideas and energy, and clearly want to take the responsibility of government. [Deputy] Violet-Anne Wynne’s mandate is as good as mine and as good as anyone’s. If you close the door on people who want to be in government, it’ll be hard to achieve consensus on important issues.”
Deputy McNamara also accused the parties of using Covid 19 to stifle debate on a range of important issues. “What the two parties are trying to do now is to kill debate on a host of other important matters. It’s a cynical exercise.
The Independent TD added that while he would support a national crisis government, he would back a coalition of FF and FG only if it addressed the issues on which he contested the General Election.
“I would have to wait and see what their Programme for Government has to say about things including balanced regional development and support for Shannon Airport in addressing that. Health and farming would also be priorities from my point of view.”