Fine Gael is united in face of controversy, says McFadden

Fine Gael Senator Gabrielle McFadden says her party is united following the recent controversy surrounding then Tánaiste Francis Fitzgerald that threatened to bring down the Government.

The resignation of Ms Fitzgerald on Tuesday this week means that a pre Christmas election has been avoided. And it is the opinion of Senator McFadden that the government must now settle down and prepare for a series of important topics set for discussion in the coming months.

“The confidence and supply agreement includes another budget, so I hope we can at least stick to that much,” she said. “A lot of work needs to be done that we have started, and I think it would be a shame to stop now.

“Things like Minister Murphy’s housing strategy is beginning to show results. Similarly, negotiations on Brexit are forthcoming, and that is really crucial for us. There is a lot of work going on and all of it could be lost if we have an election. In 2016 it took around 10 weeks to form a government, it would be very bad timing if there was an election in the next three or four months.”

Senator McFadden voiced her support for the departing Tánaiste and said she does not believe the issue should be considered as Leo Varadkar’s first failure as Taoiseach.

“Francis Fitzgerald is a really good person, and I think it is a terrible loss to the government,” she said. “I believe very strongly that the Charlton Tribunal should have been allowed to run its course. I think Francis Fitzgerald will be vindicated at that. I don’t think there should have been a kangaroo court on the floor of the Dáil chamber.

“The Taoiseach is a very strong, honest and direct man, and I think it would have been easy and populist to throw Francis Fitzgerald under the bus. But he did not do that, because he believes in her integrity. He stood by her and I think that is important. He has the full support of the parliamentary party. Considering we had a leadership election in the summer, we are a party very much united.”

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