Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Minister Dempsey says agreement with Greens "very, very likely"

THE LATEST SIGNS ARE that a Fianna-Fáil, Green Party and PD coalition is on. Minister Noel Dempsey told RTE'1's Lunchtime that he thinks it very, very likely that FF and the Greens will be in Government. Meanwhile, Minister Mary Hanafin told another radio host on Newstalk 106 that the deal now looked possible. Indeed she sounded very confident on an earlier radio show where she was outlining programmes for the future as if she had already been sanctioned as the new Minister for Education and Science., the post she holds at present.

THE AVAILABILITY of the PDs in such a scenario appears inevitable as is the support of three Independent TDs: (former Fianna Fáilers) JOHN HEALY RAY and BEVERLY FLYNN and (former Fine Gaeler) MICHAEL LOWRY. The PDs will be disappointed if MARY HARNEY does not get back as Minister of Health where she intends to privatize health, beginning with the co-location of hospitals.

HOWEVER ON SUNDAY NEXT, the Green Party chiefs must face their own members at a Conference (no seats available) to get their permission for the agreement. The questions about Shannon, Tara, co-location of hospitals, the sell-out of national gas rights in Mayo (and consequent mishandling by Shell and Gardaí of local protests at Rossport and Bellanaboy on safety and environmental grounds) may figure high on Question Time there but at this stage, it looks as if the Green Party top brass may themselves have sold out on all four issues. Only time will tell.

IF THE DEAL FALLS through for any reason, all other options will re-open.

Nothing dramatic happened at The Mahon Tribunal which re-commenced this morning. Thomas Gilmartin was back and the Tribunal ground slowly on. Ther was a hearsay remark about a former Fianna Fáil Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, but nothing about Bartholomew Ahern.

FINE GAEL STILL BREATHE DOWN THE NECKS of all the high profile participants in the talks, with Enda Kenny reminding all and sundry yet again at his own Parliamentary meeting that no defeat has been conceded

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