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Majority of Clare Fianna Fáil members opposed to coalition says CDC Chair who calls for changes at the top

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*Clare CDC Chairman, Michael Enright with Micheál Martin.

An internal survey carried out by Fianna Fáil in Clare has revealed that almost 70% of its membership are not in favour of entering coalition with Fine Gael and The Green Party.

All Fianna Fáil members in Co Clare were written to in early May by Clare CDC Chairman, Michael Enright seeking their views on negotiations surrounding government formation.

On the feedback received, Enright outlined, “The response to date has been enormous. Not only did members select specific options, but they also provided comments articulating their sentiments and opinions”.

Less than a quarter of members (24.8%) backed a coalition with Fine Gael. “Many surveys where this option was selected contained feedback whereby they felt a stable government was important at this point in time. Very worrying for the party, is the fact that with these members, there is so much disillusionment and apathy with the state of politics in Ireland today,” Mike said.

7.1% of members indicated they wanted to wait to see the Programme for Government, before they made their minds up.

While 68.1% “made it very clear in no uncertain terms did they want to go into government with Fine Gael and moreover there was a very strong response in opposition to the Greens”.

Last Friday, it was confirmed that that programme for Government would be put before members through a postal vote. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native believed this arose following the pressure from grass roots that “one member one vote is sacrosanct”.

“Already Árd Comhairle and Oireachtas members are canvassing for a ‘Yes’ vote in advance of a programme for government being available. This will be the most divisive period in the party’s illustrious history,” he predicted.

Enright expressed his scepticism with the programme for Government. He maintained that it was time for the party to begin rebuilding. “We need change, we need to address the identity crisis and serious disconnect between HQ, the parliamentary party and grass roots. Confidence & Supply was an unmitigated disaster and our leadership has learnt that the only viable option to address this mistake is to go into full blown coalition with Fine Gael, which will ultimately destroy and finish off Fianna Fáil”.

He continued, “The General Secretary (Sean Dorgan) of the party since 2007, has contested 3 General Elections and won none. On his watch, he has not seen a Fianna Fáil candidate contest a Presidential Election. In any other organisation, this would be completely unacceptable. In my view, his position has become untenable. A ‘No’ vote is ‘No’ to the Leadership of Fianna Fáil, ‘No’ to the special advisers and ‘No’ to an indecisive parliamentary party. A ‘No’ vote is in fact, in the long-term national interest, because an Ireland without Fianna Fáil will be to the detriment of the nation”.

Findings of the survey have been disputed by Clare Fianna Fáil members.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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