UCD Young Fine Gael have rejected the proposed plan for government and UCD Young Greens have officially voted against the deal. UCD Young Fianna Fáil have declined to state their final position due to ongoing internal debate. There are concerns among all three groups that this programme will have long term negative consequences for their parties.
UCD Young Greens:
The UCD Young Greens held their vote on the programme for government last night. The results were 39% for the deal and 61% against. UCD has one delegate, so their vote at the Special Convention will be cast against the deal.
The Public Relations Officer of UCD Young Greens society, Conall Mac Dhonnagáin, stated his personal reasons for being opposed to the programme, which may not represent the society as a whole. He said the deal “promotes austerity by letting Fine Gael tax those who can’t afford to be taxed any further. It will increase homelessness, as it offers at best 50k social houses over 5 years,” which he says is “less than half of what the country needs. It pushes Sláintecare back to be “looked at” in 2022 and strips it of the public health funding it desperately needs.”
Mac Dhonnagáin views the programme for government as a potentially “abusive relationship”, where Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will introduce bicycle lanes in exchange for austerity. He says, “I think this PfG can be split into 3 parts – the popular good stuff (e.g. stopping Shannon LNG), the other good stuff (walking and cycling budgets), and the really bad stuff (austerity, lack of timelines etc).” He believes that if the deal is rejected and a coalition between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Independents occurs instead, other “good stuff” will be removed from the programme.
He concludes by saying, “If they threaten to burn the planet if we don’t let them do the bad stuff, then this is not a government partnership, it’s an abusive relationship that we must avoid at all costs. We might lose a few cycle lanes, but I’ll accept that if it means fighting for the right cause.”
UCD Young Fine Gael:
UCD’s branch of Fine Gael’s youth party shared the statement put out by Young Fine Gael rejecting the proposed programme for government. The statement says that the membership of Young Fine Gael voted by almost two thirds against going into coalition with Fianna Fáil, and this is the position the UCD group supports.
The statement expresses concerns about the implications this coalition might have on the party’s future position, saying, “we believe such a Government will strengthen the position of Sinn Féin in a future election.” The statement concludes by saying that “we believe that this coalition deal, on the whole, is not a positive one for this country, and we will be accordingly opposing it.”
UCD Fianna Fáil – Kevin Barry Cumann:
A spokesperson for UCD Fianna Fáil – Kevin Barry Cumann has told The College Tribune that the society has not yet finalised their position. They reported, “There is currently ongoing internal debate on the issue and therefore the KBC does not have a singular official position on the matter.”
The administrator of the Facebook page advised searching for the main issues of contention in this debate under the hashtags #oursharedfuture and #fairerfuture. Some of the issues raised under these tags were concerns about the economy and the political identity of Fianna Fáil, as well as fears that Fianna Fáil would be neglecting rural Ireland with this programme.
In a letter to the members of Fianna Fáil, Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D. encouraged Fianna Fáil members to say no to this deal. He wrote, “a robust economy should serve to further the welfare of all the people, not that the people exist simply to drive economic growth for its own sake and enrich the few.” The letter can be read in full here.
Julia Brick – Reporter