Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach-in-waiting Leo Varadkar
On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
Presenter Audrey Carville, in an interview with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, asked him about the front page story in today’s Irish Independent, headlined: “FF deal with Leo will quieten Left parties in Dáil’.
In the story, Kevin Doyle reports:
Fianna Fáil is pushing to have the allocation of speaking in the Dáil dramatically restructured to favour larger parties.
In a shift away from so-called ‘new politics’, Michéal Martin wants to team up with incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to rebalance power in the Dáil to reflect the number of TDs in a party.
….During his meeting with Mr Varadkar, the Fianna Fáil leader argued that the d’Hondt system should be used for deciding speaking time. This would see time allocated based on the size of a party’s representation.
“I think Leo understood where I was coming from very strongly on that,” he said.
Further to this.
From Morning Ireland earlier…
Audrey Carville: “Let me ask about the front page story in the Irish Independent this morning. That you, along with Leo Varadkar, are planning to restructure Dáil speaking time, away from left-wing parties. Is that true? Are they getting too much?”
Micheál Martin: “No, I’ve been saying this for quite some time. This is not news in the sense that my, or our, position is that we should have the d’Hondt mechanism which basically means that people get the time that reflects their parliamentary strength. The majority of our TDs are not getting the time, fair time in the Dáil and it’s the same for the Fine Gael party and, indeed the Sinn Féin party…”
Carville: “Are you feeling threatened by the quality of their contributions?”
Martin: “No, no it’s just that we want fairness. I think nobody an argue that if you 45 TDs you should get a proportion of the amount of time that reflects that. We’re simply saying that the current situation is not fair and a lot of deputies are getting squeezed out and excluded from having the opportunity to participate in Dáil debates so I think it’s only fair that the amount of time we get should reflect our strength in the Dáil.”
Later, when asked if he’ll miss Enda Kenny:
Martin: “On a personal level, we got on very well and I wish himself and Fionnuala the very, very best. I think, fundamentally, he was a courageous politician, he took over when Fine Gael was at a very low ebb. I think he’s probably smiling a bit today that there are many people who are out there declaring that he was the greatest leader since Brian Boru even though they were looking for journalists to brief a short time ago against him, that’s the nature of politics. So I think he’s probably enjoying the moment that he’s enjoyed the last number of weeks. But I wish him well and I think he worked on behalf of the country, extremely enthusiastic, he was a patriot and he was a courageous leader.”
Previously: ‘They’re Loud And They’re Growing’
Listen back in full here
Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy (above) has released a statement, saying:
“Fianna Fail want the best of both worlds, they already have the benefit of having one foot in Government and one foot in opposition and now they want to effectively silence those of us who actually present real opposition to what is essentially a cosy Fianna Fail and Fine Gael arrangement in the House.”
“While Fianna Fáil may, in name only, be the main opposition party, their deal to support the Fine Gael minority Government ensures that they do not offer a credible opposition. In such a scenario the rest of the opposition become vital at holding the Minority government and its supporters to account.”
“For Fianna Fáil to try and dilute that opposition is yet another breathtakingly arrogant move by a party who seem to be confused about whether they are in Government or Opposition.”