O’Dea says FF ‘will not be a junior partner’ in coalition

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

It is unlikely Michael Noonan will serve in cabinet with Willie O'Dea if the latter's remarks are anything to go on
FORMER government minister Willie O’Dea has ruled out the possibility of Fianna Fail being a junior partner in any future coalition.

FORMER government minister Willie O’Dea has ruled out the possibility of Fianna Fail being a junior partner in any future coalition.

The opposition frontbencher’s comments come amid widespread reports that depending on the outcome of the next election, Fianna Fail could support a minority Fine Gael-led government on a case-by-case basis.

But one of the “red line issues” would be for Fine Gael to “perform a U-turn” and abolish Irish Water, the former Defence Minister said.

“There are very few people in Fianna Fail who would want to go into a coalition with Fine Gael, but if the government of the day put together something for a short period of time, provided they were implementing Fianna Fail policies, that would be considered,” he told the Limerick Leader yesterday, “The choice could be between this, and another election straight away which might not necessarily bring about a different result.”

Mr O’Dea - who topped the poll in Limerick at the 2007 election - initially ruled out Fianna Fail entering any coalition.

When it was put to him that the party has governed with the Greens, the now-defunct Progressive Democrats and Labour in the past,he said the party would only govern if it was the lead partner.

Mr O’Dea believes there will be a February general election.

After this, a coalition with Fine Gael, he said, would be “the end of Fianna Fail as we know it”.

“Any junior coalition party in this country tends to disappear. Our identity would be subsumed into Fine Gael, and the alternative government would be one led by Sinn Fein, which would not be good for this country,” he said.

Mr O’Dea said the only party Fianna Fail would not consider supporting would be Sinn Fein.

“I do not accept they are a fully democratic party. They have a particularly violent past, and I think their economic policies are quite frankly bonkers,” he concluded.