A group of 50 Fianna Fáil Councillors have been joined by 1,000 party members to launch a campaigning group to Vote No to the Programme for Government (PfG) negotiated by Fine Gael, the Green Party and the leadership of Fianna Fáil. The dal agreed by the three parties must now be ratified by members. 

The new organisation, Fairer Future, says it is “a grassroots campaign of proud Fianna Fáil members” and is adamantly opposed to the grand Coalition. It says the new Programme for Government will not deliver change  and is calling on Fianna Fáil members to vote No to the deal.

Councillors from 14 counties from Donegal to Kerry say that the Coalition is a “continuation of status quo politics” and that the Fianna Fáil leadership needed to listen to its members.

Regarding the launch of Fairer Future, Cllr Deirdre Kelly said ‘We know that at our best Fianna Fáil can transform communities and the country in the interests of working people. We have done this before, and we can do it again, but we must first take a different approach than the one proposed in this deal.’

“After nine years of Fine Gael rule Ireland needs real change. This PfG will not deliver change. It will do nothing to address the quality of life issues facing so many people in Ireland. We’ve seen the reality of Fine Gael in Government and we don’t believe Fianna Fáil should sign up to a deal that means a continuation of the status quo on housing and rural life. This is not what people voted for.”

Roscommon-based Cllr Orla Leyden added ,

‘I am really disappointed to see that this PfG is just a series of reheated policies. The decision is now in our hands. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of our movement is at stake. So too are our values of equality of opportunity, good housing, protecting the vulnerable and the prioritisation of education. These issues, and so many more, are on the ballot paper. We know that this is a difficult decision for members across the country. It was only after much thought and discussion that I have decided to urge you, our fellow party members, to Vote NO and reject this deal.’

High-profile TD Eamon Ó Cuiv also called for a rejection of the deal, saying “We campaigned on the basis of change. And what are we getting? More of the same.” Party sources say Fianna Fáil has never been so divided.