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Fine Gael and Fianna Fail reply to Greens’ 17 questions on government formation

Labour leader Alan Kelly has also written to the two big parties to ask how much a new government would borrow in the next three years.

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Leinster House, Dublin, the seat of the Oireachtas, the parliament of Ireland.

Leinster House, Dublin, the seat of the Oireachtas, the parliament of Ireland.

Leinster House, Dublin, the seat of the Oireachtas, the parliament of Ireland.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have responded to a series of questions posed by the Green Party about their joint framework document for government.

The parties sent a joint letter to the Greens on Tuesday night addressing the 17 points the party had raised about their blueprint for coalition.

Members of the Greens’ parliamentary party are set to consider the contents of the letter on Wednesday.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail tabled the framework document to a number of smaller parties to convince them to join a coalition administration.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Labour Party made its own response to the document, posing five questions for the two parties.

The letter from Labour leader Alan Kelly to the leader of both parties asked how much the government is prepared to borrow in the next three years to fund and maintain public services and secure additional investment.

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Leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Labour Party also wanted to know what taxation measures the parties are prepared to consider, and how they propose to guarantee they can implement a radical programme for government over the next five years without increases in taxation for higher earners.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has ruled out tax increases to fund the state’s response to the Covid-19 emergency.

The letter also asked them to commit to keeping the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment at the current rate of 350 euro per week.

It also asked what spending cuts to departments and agencies will be considered and if the current public sector pay deal will be honoured.

“Will you honour the current public sector pay deal, and what is your approach to negotiating a follow-on agreement, including equality of pay and conditions for our Defence Forces,” Mr Kelly asked in the letter.

A further 21 Labour Party principles are outlined in the letter, including calls for a Living Wage, direct state provision of childcare and the rollout of Slaintecare.

Mr Kelly stated in the letter that the country needs a stable government to deal with the fallout of Covid-19.

“However, I have said that we will talk to other parties. The Labour Party will continue to play a constructive part in the response to Covid-19, and it is my goal that we will have a robust role in the recovery of our country after the pandemic,” the letter said.

“The importance of the well-resourced, properly functioning and responsive State has never been clearer.

“The Labour Party welcomes this bold social democratic statement, but what is not clear to us is how the policy goals will be resourced and what fundamental choices such a government would be prepared to take.”

PA