‘Shameful!’ Leo Varadkar condemned over bid to cling to power

The left-wing party which won the popular vote in February’s general election has been pushed to the side as big beasts Fine Gael and Fianna Fail work towards a historic coalition. Ms McDonald’s comments come as acting Taoiseach Mr Varadkar and the Fianna Fail leader reached out to the Green Party in a joint letter on Tuesday night. The two leaders hope to bring the Greens to the table for talks on a coalition government.

Sinn Fein’s frontwoman said Fianna Fail and Fine Gael share a “common purpose” to make sure her party does not rise to power.

Ms McDonald told the Irish Times: “They have a swagger when they say this is a badge of honour that they’re keeping Sinn Féin out.

“I think that’s absolutely extraordinary.

“I also think it’s shameful.”

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil said their “comprehensive” letter addressed the 17 questions raised by the Greens last week.

Between them, Mr Varadkar’s group and Mr Martin’s party make up 72 seats.

A majority of 80 is needed to form a government.

The Green Party holds 12 seats.

The Greens have demanded a 7 percent cut to annual carbon emissions as a condition for entering into government with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Mr Varadkar has said the effects on the economy must be considered if such a move is implemented.

He called the 7 percent target “extremely ambitious”.

Speaking in Dublin on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar, said: “The Green Party are meeting today to discuss their response to our letter and it is also being shared with the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parliamentary party.

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“I hope they give the letter close consideration. We are very keen to enter formal talks on forming a government as soon as they are willing to do so.

“The target they set of 7 percent is extremely ambitious and we accept we need to be ambitious when it comes to climate change.

“We will be interested in talking to them about how we can achieve more ambitious targets than the current one and maybe even the 7 percent one.

“We don’t want to commit to a target that can’t be done. We want to understand what impact achieving that target would have on poverty and unemployment and the economy – particularly the rural one.”

The letter sent to the Greens late on Tuesday was also sent to other small parties including Labour and the Social Democrats.

Ms McDonald has indicated she is open to talks on a government of national unity amid the coronavirus crisis.

The idea has also been supported by the Green Party.

A total of 1,159 people in Ireland have died from coronavirus.

And the number of infected people in the Republic stands at 19,877.

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