Richard Bruton has ‘expressed concerns’ about risk of Fine Gael forming government with Fianna Fáil


The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton has acknowledged that he has concerns about the risk of Fine Gael forming a government with Fianna Fáil.

“I have expressed concerns about the risks, that it (a government) wouldn’t be durable, that it wouldn’t deliver,” he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Séan O’Rourke show.

Mr Bruton is chairperson of his party’s reference group which was formed to examine the planned coalition “to make sure we step back from the cut and thrust of any negotiations.”

There are seven key tests which will be applied, and his role is to ensure that any agreement meets the key tests, the primary one being that nothing will distract from the central task of protecting people “at this time of crisis,” he explained.

Any government that is formed must be durable and able to respond to “the challenges of our time.”

Members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party will receive the agreement document today and will meet at 5pm to discuss it, he said.

It would be “doing no one any favour” if a government “was formed in haste and did not survive the pace,” added Mr Bruton.

“Only as the process evolves will we see if it can last the pace.”

When asked if he was likely to lose his ministerial position in a new coalition, Mr Bruton said that there had not been any discussion yet on who might make up the government.

He said he recognised that “the road ahead is tricky.”

“We are starting in good faith, we have to work this through and see if agreement can be reached.”

Both parliamentary parties will hold separate meetings later today to sign off the details for the joint blueprint for government.

Following the conclusion of the parliamentary parties, Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin will together approach other party leaders of the Green Party, the Labour Party and the Social Democrats.

The document will be shared with the other parties and the group of Independent TDs.

Fianna Fáil’s negotiator, Michael McGrath, said the document sets out a number of “key missions” that an incoming government will need to deal with.

Speaking to RTÉ Morning Ireland, he said: “First and foremost being, of course, dealing with the enormous economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, the preparation of a national economic recovery plan, but also drawing on the lessons from the general election and dealing with the issues that people demand.”

He said the issues include affordable housing and universal access to health care.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is a “no brainer” but that a lot more work needs to be done in order to form a stable coalition.

“We need to move on and see if we can form a government. It has been over two months since the election. I believe it is a no brainer. I very much welcome the proposed deal between the two historic foes.

“There will be an equality of authority between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. There will be an equality of ministers because parties will be entering this historic agreement and doing so on the basis of equality.”

Speaking to Newstalk FM, he said: “There is a lot of work to be done here. All we have is a framework and a handshake. We have to ensure flesh is put on the bones of the deal.”

– additional reporting from Press Association

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