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‘Shameful & disgraceful’ – Clare Fianna Fáil Chair says members must have say on Government formation

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*Michael Enright (left) with Fianna Fáil party leader Micheál Martin.

Chairman of Fianna Fáil’s Clare Comhairle Dáil Cheantair, Michael Enright has labelled it “shameful and disgraceful” that party members of the country may be deprived of a say on a historic coalition with Fine Gael.

On Sunday, the Green Party voted to enter into formal negotiations with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael with a view to forming the next Government.

However long-time members of the traditional big two parties have expressed their concern at the coalition.

In a statement to The Clare Echo, Michael Enright confirmed he would be making contact with every member of the Fianna Fáil party in the county to attempt for them to have an input into the talks.

He said that party headquarters were not returning his calls to try obtain the most up-to-date list of members. “I am adamant all members in Clare should have their input and I, as their Cathaoirleach will fully support the democratic will of our members here in Clare”.

Referring to the media reports, Enright flagged that Fianna Fáil’s negotiating team and leader Micheál Martin will proceed with the talks without consulting its members via a special Ard Fheis.

“I cannot stress strongly enough, how shameful and disgraceful, circumventing the membership on the most important decision in the party’s history is”.

“Every organisation has ‘checks and balance’ to ensure as an entity, its very existence is secure. In Fianna Fáil, the members through One Member One Vote must have the final say in any programme for government. By and large, the members will accept the final decision whether it is to proceed with coalition or not. But as Deputy John McGuinness T.D has written on social media and in emails to county Councillors, “Democracy cannot be abandoned”,” the party’s county Comhairle Dáil Cheantair Chair added.

February’s General Election outcome was described as “inconclusive” by Enright who acknowledged the uncertainty facing the country and the world due to COVID-19, “the likes of which have not been seen in generations”.

Dublin Airport’s expansion and Shannon Airport’s ongoing struggles, job losses at Roche, Molex and Moneypoint, trolley numbers at University Hospital Limerick, “deteriorating” ShannonDoc services across Clare and Newmarket-on-Fergus’s year-long search to appoint a GP were “symptomatic of the call out from voters for change,” the farmer maintained.

“On one hand, we the people of Ireland listened to a Fine Gael government tell us that for nine years they single-handedly created a full employment economy where the country was meeting its fiscal requirements. On the other hand we listened to the Leader of Fianna Fáil assure the same people of Ireland that enough was enough and under no circumstance would the party enter a coalition arrangement with Fine Gael.

“I have no doubt the people of Ireland want a credible government, led by a party who prides itself on honouring its commitments. Fianna Fáil built Ireland and has a very proud history. Now though, it faces its greatest challenge, it needs to rediscover its identity and return to the strong and cherished values of not leaving anyone behind,” the Newmarket-on-Fergus native added.

Party members voiced their praise for Mr Enright in February when he ensured there was a vote by members of the Shannon Ceanntair as opposed to an interview process by Fianna Fáil HQ to determine who was co-opted to Cathal Crowe’s seat on Clare County Council.

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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