Irish political opponents criticise confidence and supply extension

Irish political representatives have criticised the country’s main opposition party after it announced it would extend the confidence and supply arrangement with the Government for another year.

It was announced on Wednesday after weeks of discussion that the Fine Gael Government would continue with the support the country’s second biggest party, Fianna Fail, for the foreseeable future due to Brexit’s impact on Ireland.

Fine Gael deputy leader Simon Coveney hailed the “maturity” of opposition leader Micheal Martin and said the deal ensures “certainty for at least another year, probably more”.

Sinn Fein’s leader Mary Lou McDonald labelled the negotiations as “political theatre” and said it was “astonishing that Fianna Fail have agreed to keep Fine Gael in government for another year without achieving one additional thing”.

“They seem happy to have more of the same, the same failures.

“All the things Micheal Martin apparently had a problem with, apparently now he has no problem with,” she said.

“The truth is you can’t be in government and opposition at the same time.

“It is clear he (Martin) has full confidence in Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, and will have achieved nothing by way of additionality, and will ensure that government continues on.”

After the 2016 general election, Fianna Fail agreed to support Fine Gael in power for three budgets, by committing to not bring down the Government or vote against key votes.

However it remains unclear whether Fianna Fail received any new commitments from the Government for extension, Mr Martin said that there was “disagreement on issues of delivery” but they would continue to keep the government under pressure.

There is no new existing document or agreement, the current document in relation to confidence and supply is still in use.

Similarly, Irish Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin was quick to criticise Fianna Fail for entering into an extended agreement.

“The six weeks of the labours of Hercules have produced exactly nothing,” he said.

“Apparently there is to be a deal with no consequences, no requirements, all the analysis about the failures in housing and health are meaningless because there is no new target to be set, conditions to be met, it is a blank cheque being signed for a Government that’s doing very little by common consensus.

“The Taoiseach is looking for a mandate and can’t bring himself to ask for one.

“We’ve had a period of inaction, we need to address fundamental issues confronting us, on housing and healthcare and inequality in society generally.”

The current Irish government has come under criticism domestically for the ongoing homeless crisis, lack of affordable housing, hospital waiting lists and what political opponents call “rising inequality”.

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