Fine Gael Accuses Fianna Fáil...


Fine Gael Accuses Fianna Fáil Of 'Damaging' Government Formation Talks

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Fine Gael claims government formation talks have been 'damaged' due to 'unwarranted attacks' by Fianna Fáil TDs responding to reports about election contingency planning.

The matter has also been escalated to party leaders, with Fine Gael saying Leo Varadkar will now meet Micheál Martin to discuss the issue.

Yesterday, it emerged that draft plans are being drawn by the Government on how any election would operate amid the coronavirus crisis if the current negotiations break down.

According to The Irish Times, plans include a proposal for voting to be broken up over a number of days to ensure social distancing.

Among the reactions to the report, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen tweeted: "Sincerely hope not but If true it smacks of bad faith, selfishness and putting party before country".

In a statement this afternoon, Fine Gael said officials working on the election contingency plans are "only doing their jobs by scenario planning for all eventualities".

The party said: "The Constitution and the law are clear on this. Elections, by-elections and referenda must happen within defined timeframes once vacancies arise.

"There is no specific provision for public health emergencies (e.g. pandemics) envisaged in the Constitution or the law.

"The fact that this prompted an attack on Fine Gael by two senior Fianna Fáil spokespeople was unwarranted and has damaged the talks process."

Leo Varadkar will now contact Micheál Martin to discuss the issue, the statement adds.

Main image: File photo of Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

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