Key talks on new Government today…but will our Independent TDs see red over Greens? 

Fitmaurice hints at rural revolt over 7% emissions’ cut

Formal talks on a programme for government will begin today (Thursday) between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party. It is understood that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have given written assurances to the Greens in relation to their demand that Ireland must achieve an annual 7% reduction on emissions.

The Greens’ demands may scupper the prospect of either (or both) of Roscommon’s high profile Independent TDs joining/supporting the new Coalition Government. Deputies Michael Fitzmaurice and Denis Naughten have both expressed fairly strong reservations about the Greens’ expectations.

The two Roscommon/Galway Independent TDs have both held separate exploratory talks with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael around the issue of Government formation. Both parties, even if they do business with the Greens, would like to secure the support of some Independent TDs, in order to ensure that the new Government has a workable majority and credible prospects of serving a full term.

While Deputy Fitzmaurice has neither ruled entering government in or out, most of the speculation has been on the nine-strong ‘Regional Group’, a loose Independent alliance of which Deputy Naughten is Convenor.

There has been strong speculation that most, or all, of the Regional Group of TDs may be willing to support a new Coalition Government.

However, the Greens’ insistence that Ireland must reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 7% could be a step too far for rural-based Independents.

Deputy Fitzmaurice, as quoted in the Irish Independent’s Farming Independent: “If the inclusion of the Green Party is going to decimate Irish agriculture and the main parties decide to sell us out for the sake of power or jobs, then we in rural Ireland will have to rally together to oppose this venomously”.

Denis Naughten, quoted in the same article: “If we slaughtered every single animal in this country, we would still not achieve the five-year target that the Greens are setting out here”.

Let the talks commence…