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Watch: ‘You ran and you left the country’ — TD Richard O’Donoghue accuses Sinn Fein of minimal Government formation effort

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 29/06/2020 Eva Wall
Mary Lou McDonald, Rose Conway-Walsh, Pearse Doherty posing for the camera: Mary Lou MacDonald arriving with Sinn Fein TDs for the first day of the Dail. 20/02/2020 Photograph: ©Fran Veale © Provided by Extra.ie Mary Lou MacDonald arriving with Sinn Fein TDs for the first day of the Dail. 20/02/2020 Photograph: ©Fran Veale

Independent TD for Limerick Richard O’Donoghue has accused Sinn Fein of putting in minimal efforts towards Government formation after the 2020 General Election.

Mr O’Donoghue addressed the 33rd Dail in Dublin’s Convention Centre on Saturday as Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin was elected Taoiseach and head of the new Government coalition of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

The former Fianna Fail candidate was one of several Independent TDs to vote in favour of Mr Martin’s appointment to the office of Taoiseach on Saturday. Mr O’Donoghue was joined by Independent TDs Michael Lowry, Noel Grealish, Marian Harkin, Michael McNamara, Verona Murphy, Peter Fitzpatrick and Cathal Berry.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Independent TD for Limerick Richard O’Donoghue has accused Sinn Fein of putting in minimal efforts towards Government formation after the 2020 General Election. © Provided by Extra.ie Independent TD for Limerick Richard O’Donoghue has accused Sinn Fein of putting in minimal efforts towards Government formation after the 2020 General Election.

Following the election of the new Government, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald insisted that a grand coalition between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party did not reflect the change demanded by the Irish electorate in February’s election.

Speaking on Saturday, Ms McDonald insisted that the other parties had ‘kept us out of Government‘, but maintained that: ‘Today is nonetheless a day for hope and for optimism because change is coming’.

Speaking in the Convention Centre, Mr O’Donoghue took issue with the argument that Sinn Fein had been kept out of Government, stating: ‘I’ve listened to people in this chamber today talk out of both sides of their mouth. We met Fianna Fail, we met Fine Gael, we met the Greens, we met Sinn Fein.

‘The only people who wanted to talk about Government were Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens, even though they limited the amount of talk that we had.

‘Sinn Fein were talking out of both sides of their mouth. I see People Before Profit, I see Aontu — all of them could have made a programme for Government and come to the rural Independents, but no, it’s easier for them to stand on the fence and be critical of everyone else.’

Mr O’Donoghue added: ‘Your country elected you to go out and form a Government, you never even contacted the rural Independents.

Mary Lou McDonald looking at the camera: Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald insisted that a grand coalition between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party did not reflect the change demanded by the Irish electorate in February’s election. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins © Provided by Extra.ie Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald insisted that a grand coalition between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party did not reflect the change demanded by the Irish electorate in February’s election. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘Sinn Fein had a reward out for them after four weeks to know where they were with their mandate. There’s a mandate for Independents to stand up here today and you ran. You went missing for four to five weeks.

‘I do understand Mary Lou McDonald was sick. Where were the rest of your party? You ran and you left the country.’

Mr Martin was elected Taoiseach on Saturday by a margin of 93 votes to 63 (three TDs abstained).

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