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FF-FG blueprint is ‘vague’ and ‘disappointing’ – smaller parties react to deal

The rival parties have forged an agreement based on 10 ‘pillars’.

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

A number of the smaller parties have poured cold water on the Fianna Fail-Fine Gael joint framework document published on Wednesday.

The document outlines how the next government will navigate the post-Covid-19 emergency and contains 10 key “pillars” it says will improve Irish society.

Hours after the blueprint for government was circulated, Labour leader Alan Kelly described it an “uncosted and purely aspirational” document that will require detailed scrutiny.

“It fails to mention any concrete timelines or when any of the mooted ideas would be delivered,” he added.

“I welcome that in both parties coming together to draft this document, that they have come around to a different way of thinking on a new social contract and other social democratic policies.

“The Labour Parliamentary Party will appraise this document over the coming days.”

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar plan to meet the smaller parties including Labour, Social Democrats and the Greens over the coming days to discuss a programme for government.

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have ruled out going into government with Sinn Fein.

In reaction to the historic document, a spokeswoman for the Social Democrats said: “The document is portrayed as some kind of radical change of direction but on first reading it appears disappointing.

“It is vague and for the most part simply repeats existing government policy and commitments previously made and not delivered upon.

“It lacks timelines, costings and clear targets.

“With that said, it is welcome that both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are acknowledging that there is a need for a change in direction.

“The current crisis has highlighted the need for far greater investment in public services, healthcare, housing and action on climate change.

“But actions must speak louder than words.

“We will take a detailed look at the document and give a further reaction in the coming days.”

A spokesman for the Greens said they will consider the contents of the document and will reply in due course.

I would be surprised if any of the parties who stood on a platform of change if they found anything in this document that is worthwhileLouise O'Reilly

Sinn Fein TD Louise O’Reilly said the document “is a construct designed to keep Sinn Fein out of government”.

“It allows them to continue the politics of exclusion and to nod in the direction of policies they have put absolutely no substance into.

“I would be surprised if any of the parties who stood on a platform of change if they found anything in this document that is worthwhile.”

“The document is very light on detail and very heavy on vague aspirations so what people want to see in terms of a programme for Government, they want to see those details.”

“People were very focused on policy in the last election but there is no detailed policy in this document.

“The intention is to nod in the direction of issues.

“In the absence of any details, what we have to do then is look at past performance.

“Fianna Fail and Fine Gael had four years and four budgets they have agreed together in which they could have agreed on some of the items that are here, but they didn’t.”

“This document is deliberately vague so for anyone to come out the other side of this pandemic in debt or overcrowded or insecure accommodation or on a waiting list for an elective procedure…there is nothing in this document for them.”

PA