Sinn Fein pledges to lead strong opposition as parties agree to enter coalition

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Sinn Fein has pledged to lead a strong opposition to the new coalition government in Ireland.

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party have agreed to enter government together on Friday night following a ballot of their members.

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said people voted for change in February’s general election and for a new beginning.

He said: “They voted for a move away from the two parties that have shared power in this State for nearly 100 years.

“At a time when Ireland needs ambition and big ideas, we have a programme for government that fails to deliver on affordable housing, on building up capacity in our health services, on getting people back to work and having enough to survive, on childcare, on the right to retire at 65 and on planning for Irish unity.”

Mr Doherty said Sinn Fein will provide a strong and determined opposition.

“We will be equally determined in leading the opposition. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will be faced with the most determined opposition they have ever seen because Sinn Fein will stand up for ordinary workers and families.

“We will continue to put forward solutions and we will continue to build support across Ireland to deliver the change that people want and deserve.”

The leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland said the deal members voted for does not fulfil the Green Party’s commitment to social justice.

Clare Bailey said: “Although I was opposed to this on the grounds that this programme for government does not in my opinion fulfil the Green Party’s commitment to social justice, I accept the democratic decision of the membership of the party.

“I am committed to ensuring that this programme for government is fulfilled by our Green Party TDs, senators and ministers, and will continue to engage within the party to do so.”

People Before Profit (PBP) have said that in signing up to go into coalition with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, the Green Party have effectively “rubber-stamped and green-washed a policy programme of more of the same and the maintenance of the status quo”.

PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: “In voting for this programme for government the Green Party have, in effect, given the green light to maintain the status quo rather than to bring about the change people voted for in the general election.

“In signing up to an alliance with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail the Greens have decided to throw their lot in with the parties whose policies gave us cruel and unjust austerity; a housing and homeless crisis of epic proportions; a health system that was bursting at the seams even before Covid-19; and a cost-of-living crisis that has left working people scrambling around at the end of the month to pay extortionate rents, bills and childcare costs.”

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