Northern Ireland news

Fianna Fáil member calls for more northern representation as party considers coalition

Sorcha McAnespy with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin
Brendan Hughes

FIANNA Fáil members in the north need "more representation going forward" as the party considers entering a three-way coalition government, a northern rep has said.

Sorcha McAnespy, a Fianna Fáil national executive member, was speaking after northern party members organised a Zoom call to discuss the programme for government.

Senator Niall Blaney and some SDLP members who are also members of Fianna Fáil were among those who took part, Ms McAnespy said.

She said more than 50 Fianna Fáil members in the north have registered to vote on the proposed deal with Fine Gael and the Greens to form the the Republic's next government.

Ms McAnespy, a former Omagh councillor, said she is minded to vote in favour of the deal.

"I had my reservations. I talked it through with different TDs and the leader. At this point I'm minded to support the government going forward, but we need to protect our identity as a party," she said.

She said there is "very strong feeling on the ground about not going into government with Fine Gael", but added: "You can't make changes unless you are in government."

Ms McAnespy said the A5 road project and Narrow Water Bridge are priorities, as well as health matters and dealing with Brexit.

After the coronavirus pandemic, she said: "I think everybody understands that we need to look at things from an all-island perspective."

Ms McAnespy encouraged northern members to use their vote.

"We were delighted to be engaged in this conversation and strengthening the ties with our members in the north," she said.

"I am on the national executive, but we need to have more respresentation going forward, and that our concerns are listened to."

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