Sinn Fein in Dáil pact ahead of IMF debate
The five Sinn Fein TDs and two Independents, Finian McGrath and Maureen O’Sullivan, have agreed to form a technical group in the Dublin parliament.
The grouping is a technical arrangement rather than a political alliance, but will allow the group greater recognition under Dail Standing Orders so the members get more speaking time.
They can also put a question to the Taoiseach twice a week during Leaders’ Questions.
In a joint statement the seven TDs said they had held “a series of positive and constructive meetings over the past two weeks” and had reached agreement on the logistics of the new Technical Group.
“We have consistently pressed Government to make the necessary changes in Standing Orders so that all parties and all Deputies can be treated with fairness. Despite our efforts the government dug in its heels and maintained the present unfair system as far as Dail rules are concerned.
“We emphasise that the Sinn Fein party and each of the two non-party Deputies will maintain their respective independence and separate identity in terms of policy and voting in Dail divisions.”
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has been confirmed as the party’s candidate for the constituency of County Louth and East Meath.
Speaking following a selection convention at the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk, Mr Adams said the forthcoming election would be “the most important in recent decades.
“Sinn Fein has a very clear economic strategy which is about protecting public services, protecting the elderly and disabled and disadvantaged; protecting those on low and middle incomes, and stimulating the economy to create jobs and build prosperity.”
NO TO IMF
Mr Adams again appealed to TDs to vote against the IMF/EU bailout loan deal when it comes in front of the Dail on Wednesday.
The coalition government is due to hold a motion on the 85 billion euro international rescue package, which comes with a strict programme of conditions and requirements.
Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Sinn Fein and at least one Fianna Fail backbencher will vote against. However, the government is likely to count on the support of two independents it reached a deal with earlier this month.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan claimed the vote was irrelevant as the terms of the agreement were agreed and this had been confirmed by the European Commission.
“The agreements cannot be renegotiated. That’s clear. The interest rate (5.8%) is not negotiable,” he said.
But Mr Lenihan conceded there was room for what he described as “compositional changes” after 2011.
Mr Adams called for the deal to be torpedoed.
“Those who vote for it should be reminded of this when the Taoiseach eventually calls the election,” he said.
“The people of Ireland are looking for a new type of politics based on fairness and decency,” Mr Adams said. “The mighty work which has been started in the North can be replicated here.
“Change is possible and there is a better way for us to manage our affairs.
“My resolve is to seek a mandate, as part of this great Sinn Fein party, to do just that. It is now over to the citizens of Louth and East Meath to decide who should represent them.”