Ó Laoghaire: Martin comments about 'no Plan B' are alarmist; SF ready to form Government or fight election 

Ó Laoghaire: Martin comments about 'no Plan B' are alarmist; SF ready to form Government or fight election 
Pic Darragh Kane

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said his party is ready to either go into Government or fight a second election, as he hit back at comments made by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin yesterday.

Mr Martin warned of ‘no Plan B’ if the draft programme for government is voted down this week, saying if the document is rejected, it will leave parties in “uncharted territory”.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the Green Party have been balloting their respective members to back the document, which took some five weeks to put together. The outcome of the membership votes among the parties will be announced on Friday.

Ó Laoghaire labelled the commentary as “alarmist”, and said that his party will be “ready and prepared to fight” in an election if the programme is not passed.

“People talking about political crisis; I don’t consider an election to be a political crisis,” said the Cork South Central TD. “Obviously if that happened we would be ready and prepared to fight in an election, but as far as we’re concerned, if this [programme for government] does not succeed, then we will be ready and picking up the phone to other parties.”

“We don’t think that what’s in the programme for government represents the radical change that people need to see and we don’t believe that it will deliver.

“If this falls through then we will be ready straight away to put together a government. We want Mary Lou McDonald to be the Taoiseach and we’ll be nominating her and we will negotiate with people on the basis of that.”

The Green Party has the highest threshold of the three parties to secure the approval of its membership. Two thirds of members registered to vote on the proposals must back the deal.

“An enormous amount of time has been put into the negotiations to get this programme for government,” Mr Martin said yesterday. “Therefore there is no magic Plan B if it’s defeated.

“I think we will be in a very difficult situation if it emerges that this does not get support from the members of any political party.

“We have had a lot of discussions with independent groupings, some of whom have indicated a desire that there would be a government formed and it would last five years.”

Mr Martin said he is “very positive” the programme will be accepted.

However, Mr Ó Laoghaire said that the programme for government is “far from a done deal”.

“I think that there’s good reason that there’s opposition within those parties,” he said.

“If this doesn’t succeed, then other parties might come into the fold, we will certainly be prepared to negotiate. Every TD has an equal mandate.”

Mr Ó Laoghaire said that while the party cannot “take any result for granted” he would be hopeful of doing very well if an election was held.

“I think it’s been very frustrating that despite the strong result that we got that we’ve been frozen out,” he said.

“If people back us in greater numbers then it would be even harder to freeze us out.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are running out of tactics and strategies to try and keep us out and we believe that can’t last forever.”

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