Yesterday the Sunday Independent reported that there have been discussions between Labour, the Greens, and the Social Democrats about “forming an alliance of the Left which would enter a rainbow coalition arrangement with Fine Gael”.
Further to this, Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy spoke to Gavin Jennings on RTÉ One’s Morning Ireland this morning.
Grab a tay…
Gavin Jennings: “The Sunday Independent was reporting yesterday that secret talks have been held within the confines of Leinster House and elsewhere in Dublin between Labour, the Green Party and the Social Democrats – is that true?”
Catherine Murphy: “No it’s not. We’ve had no formal or informal talks with the Labour Party about joining any coalition.”
Jennings: “And Roisin Shortall or Stephen Donnelly haven’t been involved in any such talks either, no?”
Jennings: “The paper was also reporting that Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has been in constant contact with Fine Gael’s chief negotiator’s Simon Coveney. He strongly believes that the next government – this is Eamon Ryan – needs to be more balanced in terms of political ideologies and has been urging Labour and the Social Democrats to join him in providing this balance. Has he been urging you?”
Murphy: “He has, yes. We wouldn’t share his view that, we campaigned saying we wouldn’t support more of the same and we pretty much reaffirmed that commitment but we believe we’re in an entirely different situation and, indeed, the Dáil Reform Committee has been busy rewriting the Dáil rules to reflect the new reality and we would be, for example, quite, we would encourage and would be involved for example in setting out a framework for the Dáil with all the other strands of the Dáil in setting out a programme for the Dáil as opposed to a programme for Government because there has been a shift in power and that’s the message that the voters gave, there’s been a shift in power from Government to the Dáil and the rules have been rewritten, or are being rewritten, to reflect that so I think we’re in a very different scenario where, for example, if there was a broad strategic approach taken on major issues like health, like housing, we feel that there is a programme there that, there’s lots of possibilities of support for.”
Jennings: “But in terms of making up the numbers to make up this Government, are you ruling the Social Democrats out?”
Murphy: “We did some weeks ago…”
Jennings: “And that’s still the case?”
Murphy: “It is still the case.”
Jennings: “When you mention an election, there is a possibility that we may have another election quite soon. Why do you think that voters would be more favourable to you for sitting aside and allowing a Government to be formed rather than getting in there and trying to do something about it?”
Murphy: “You see I actually don’t believe that’s the case. I think that the shift in power in the Dáil, the rewriting of rules actually opens up a really exciting prospect of sharing that power in a way that we haven’t seen before. And, as I said, it’s a question of drawing up a programme for the Dáil so as that the 158 TDs in the Dáil can participate, that it’s not confined to 15 members of Cabinet and everyone else is, you know, kind of has influence but there the only ones with power. It’s an entirely different prospect and it’s one that we would be very constructive and enthusiastic about participating in. So, essentially, this is a changed environment and, as I say, the Dáil rules have been changed to reflect that or are being changed to reflect that.”
Listen back in full here