Fine Gael preparing to go into opposition following parliamentary party meeting 4 months ago

Fine Gael preparing to go into opposition following parliamentary party meeting

"Sinn Féin has an obligation to the people who voted for it to show whether or not it can honour the extraordinary promises they made."

Fine Gael leader and outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that his party is "preparing to go into opposition" as crucial talks regarding the 33rd Dáil continue.

On Monday (17 February), Fine Gael held a party meeting for a total of six hours during which Varadkar announced that he "relishes the challenge to lead a strong and effective opposition for the benefit of the country".

Fine Gael has also stated that the onus is on Sinn Féin to form a government of the left with the support of independent TDs, adding that "Sinn Féin has an obligation to the people who voted for it to show whether or not it can honour the extraordinary promises they made".

Furthermore, Fine Gael has underlined that will it not enter into negotiations for a programme of government without the backing of the party.

You can read the statement in full below.

"The Fine Gael party met for six hours today and had a detailed discussion in which everyone had an opportunity to give their view.

"We are preparing to go into opposition.

"An Taoiseach and Fine Gael President, Leo Varadkar, told the parliamentary party that he relishes the challenge to lead a strong and effective opposition for the benefit of the country. In particular, Fine Gael will represent the interests and aspirations of the 450,000 people who voted for the party in the election and hold the new government to account.

"The Taoiseach said he also plans to consult with public representatives and members about the future direction of Fine Gael and looks forward to rebuilding the party in the years ahead. The parliamentary party agreed that the onus is on Sinn Féin to form a government of the left with the support of independents.

"Sinn Féin has an obligation to the people who voted for it to show whether or not it can honour the extraordinary promises they made. If Sinn Féin fails in that challenge, then the onus passes onto Fianna Fáil to form a government with them and/or with the Greens, Labour and Social Democrat parties and independents.

"The parliamentary party mandated the Taoiseach as party leader to engage with other parties to share our analysis and perspectives on the outcome of the General Election.

"There will be no negotiations on a programme for government without a further mandate from the parliamentary party. It will meet again next week."