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Tag Archives: Fianna Fáil

McNamara to chair new Covid-19 Dáil committee

CLARE Independent TD, Michael McNamara has said he doesn’t expect the new Covid-19 Dáil committee, of which be became chairperson this week, to be a star chamber or to make a political football of public health guidelines. Responding to questions from The Clare Champion this week, Deputy McNamara said he expected the high-profile committee to treat witnesses, who will include Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan, with respect and to focus on matters of public interest and information. The committee, which is the only one sitting currently, is made up of four members each from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, with one seat each for other parties and Independent groups. On Tuesday, it elected Deputy McNamara, by lunchtime, to be its chair, before a longer-than-expected private session which continued into the late afternoon. For reasons of social distancing and to ensure the committee has legal privilege, the meeting took place in the Dáil chamber, with the Scariff-based …

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Michael McNamara, (Ind) is lifted on shoulders on his election at the Clare General Election 2020 count in The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon. Photograph by John Kelly.

McNamara suggests another General Election could be attractive to Fine Gael

CLARE’S Independent TD has questioned the view that a coalition of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party is the only option when it comes to forming the next government. Deputy Michael McNamara, who has been involved with talks, alongside fellow Independents Michael Fitzmaurice (Rocommon-Galway) and Marian Harkin (Sligo-Leitrim) about supporting such a coalition, said it may be the case that alternatives are viable, if not preferable at this point in time. This week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party he is confident a government can be formed by June. However, Deputy McNamara said it may still be the case that Fine Gael’s preference was for another General Election. “The prospect of another election might seen attractive to Fine Gael right now,” he told The Champion. “They will have to be seen to exhaust all possibilities for government formation, then to persuade President Higgins to dissolve the Dáil. The president has some discretion in that regard …

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McNamara among trio of Independents in FF-FG talks

CLARE’s Independent TD has described his talks on supporting a Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition as “constructive”, but said he believes the parties’ preferred option is to have the Greens on-board, reducing the requirement for non-party deputies. Deputy Michael McNamara met a negotiating team for two hours last Monday, alongside fellow Independents Marian Harkin (Sligo-Leitrim) and Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway), and said that while the encounter was worthwhile, it didn’t constitute “meaningful negotiations”. “The talks were constructive, but I wouldn’t say there was any great level of engagement on either said,” he said. “The very clear preference is to get the Greens on board, alongside a few Independents bolted on for added stability.” The three rural Independents presented a joint document and reviewed the framework document drawn up by the parties. Deputy McNamara stressed, however, that that he would be working independently for this constituency. “Everything I do is based on what’s best for Clare, even though we met as a team,” …

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Killaloe FF call on party not to snub members ‘for sake of power’

FIANNA FÁIL members of the Killaloe Municipal District are leading calls for consultation with grassroots on the nature of the next government, saying the party “must not for the sake of power, ignore the membership”. In a joint statement, Councillors Alan O’Callaghan, Pat Hayes and Tony O’Brien have urged members across the country to make their views known, and called for a postal ballot on a Programme for Government. All three councillors have also expressed their preference for an interim government of national unity rather than a coalition with Fine Gael and a third party. “Normally, under party rules, an Árd Fheis would be held and postal vote shouldn’t be a major problem,” said Councillor O’Callaghan. “There has been mention of talks over the phone with HQ and Comhairle Dáil Ceanntairs, but our preference would be a vote. HQ have no bother writing to us when they want church gate collections organised and membership paid for.” He expressed the view …

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Grassroots coaxed toward FF-FG coalition

AS Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil inch closer to government formation, opinion continues to be divided on the merits of a historic coalition. The broad consensus, however, suggests that, in this county, support for alternatives options is in short supply. Both parliamentary parties have been meeting separately to consider a joint framework document agreed by Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin last Tuesday. It is anticipated that mechanisms will then be explored to canvass the views of councillors and grass-roots members. Deputies Joe Carey and Cathal Crowe both suggested that, through consultation, those with reservations could be brought around to the coalition option. “Among Fine Gael councillors there is widespread support, but not unanimity,” said Deputy Carey. “I would say that around 70% favour coalition. People do have legitimate questions and they must be listened to.” Fianna Fáil’s Deputy Crowe said he would emphasising to party leadership the importance of listening to the grassroots. “I have huge support in our party’s negotiating team,” he said. …

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Timmy Dooley Misses Out in Seanad Bid

TWO Clare candidates have lost out in their bid to secure a place on the Industrial and Commercial Panel of Seanad Éireann. The development means that former Fianna Fáil TD, Timmy Dooley, has failed in his bid to return to the Oireachtas. The Mountshannon native was one of the surprise casualties of February’s General Election, and having formerly been a member of the Upper House, was thought to have been in with a strong chance of taking a Seanad seat. While he secured 35 first preference votes from the Industrial and Commercial Panel electorate which is comprised of local authority members, he was eliminated on the twenty-first count on a total of 52 votes. Also seeking election to that panel was prominent Clare hotelier and former President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Michael Vaughan. The Lahinch man, a first-time candidate, was eliminated on the fifth count. Counting for the Administrative Panel continues today with two Clare candidates in contention, for …

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McNamara attacks ‘cynical’ FF and FG coalition talks

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 …

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Dust Settles After Political Storm at Clare General Election Count

ALL roads led to Ennistymon last Sunday morning as the counting of just over 60,000 Clare ballots began. Storm Ciara tore along the western seaboard, leaving sections of the N85 barely passable. As political pilgrims queued to cross flood waters south of the Inagh village, the brother of outgoing TD Timmy Dooley came quietly to the rescue. Pat Dooley donned his wellies to check the depth of the water, then led a number of other drivers through. Gales and floods ultimately did little to deter the capacity crowd that poured into The Falls Hotel to witness a drama few could have anticipated. As the ballot boxes were opened, the threads of a new political narrative emerged. Sinn Féin was on course to have a Clare TD for the first time since 1922. It took more than twelve hours, however, to confirm the dominance of newcomer Violet-Anne Wynne. Anticipation of the first count was at fever pitch by 9.10pm. Families and …

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