FINE Gael and Fianna Fáil can delay change, but they cannot stop it.
That was the message from Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan, who was responding to the announcement that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party have negotiated a draft agreement for government.
Deputy Quinlivan also hit out at Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin’s parties for excluding Sinn Féin from the government formation process. He believes this was an “attempt to deny change, to protect the status-quo and to continue with the same politics that have so badly failed workers and families”.
“They have now reached an agreement on a Programme for Government with the Green Party. A programme that doesn’t mention Shannon Airport or the vital Cork to Limerick motorway. It’s lack of detail on huge issues like the living wage, health and housing are very concerning,” he said.
The Limerick politician went onto say that the reality is that a government led by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – no matter who they are propped up by – does not represent the change that people voted for and will not deliver for workers and families.
“Their record in government together over the past four years shows us exactly what they will do if this Programme for Government is endorsed by the parties involved.
“What we need is a break from the past, not a repeat of it.”
According to Deputy Quinlivan, that means rebuilding the economy in a fair and sustainable way, delivering affordable housing, delivering universal healthcare, making sure workers can retire at the age of 65, investing in our forgotten regions and delivering the type of real change required to tackle the climate emergency.
“This will not be delivered by a Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael led government.
“To those who voted for change, I say this – do not give up. The future is still there to be won. Sinn Féin will never give up because we believe that we are within touching distance of a better Ireland. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can delay change, but they cannot stop it.”
Castleconnell-based Sinn Féin politician, Senator Paul Gavan takes the view that in joining Fine Gael in government, Fianna Fáil are nailing their colours to a very “right-wing” mast.
“It’s a humiliating experience for many rank and file party members who are seeing the short term personal ambition of their parliamentary team trump the long term interests of their party and the country,” he claimed.
Senator Gavan went on to quote Fianna Fáil Cork councillor Deirdre Kelly, who has described the new programme for government as “a continuation of the status quo on housing and rural life”.
“People did not vote for more of the same failed policies, but that is what they are due to get, with much of the programme for government merely a restatement of existing Government commitments.”
Senator Gavan also had criticism for the Green Party.
”Green Party leadership are asking their members to sign up to a document in which the word ‘review’ is mentioned 127 times, ‘examine’ 68 times, ‘consider’ 44 times and ‘assess’ 24 times. It’s a vague and aspirational document, that suggests the proposed government will spend years reviewing and examining rather than delivering. It points to a certain naïveté on the part of the Greens, something they may well live to regret,” he predicts.