BY JACKIE KEOGH
CORK South West TD, Michael Collins, and four other independent TDs held discussions with Fine Gael on Wednesday seeking the development of a national plan that would be relevant to regional communities.
Although discussions with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have taken place over the last two weeks, Michael Collins TD told The Southern Star: ‘We decided to intensify discussions with Fine Gael with a view to forming a government in the national interest.’
The five independent TDs – Michael Collins (Cork South West), Noel Grealish (Galway West), Dr Michael Harty (Clare), Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South) and Denis Naughten (Roscommon Galway) – believe Fine Gael is ‘seriously determined to form a government.’
And, as the party in the driving seat, with eight extra Dáil votes, they said: ‘We are now prepared to sit down and actively engage on a programme for government.’
In a statement, the TDs made it clear: ‘We are not making any determination on who we will support for the office of An Taoiseach at this stage, but we believe that the current political stand-off by all parties is not in the best interest of this country, of those who are homeless, those who are on hospital trolleys, those who are unemployed or struggling to meet day to day bills, and the issues that affect rural Ireland.’ The TDs are of the opinion that ‘no agreement can be achieved without the co-operation of Fianna Fáil,’ and they said they would ‘continue to insist’ that any programme would be a ‘political partnership agreement.’
Michael Collins TD said: ‘There is a responsibility on each and every elected TD to work sincerely towards the formation of a Government and my priority is to work for the delivery of the best possible deal for West Cork and for rural Ireland.’