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Collins open to talks

Wednesday, 12th February, 2020 4:40pm

Cork’s only independent TD has said that he's willing to talk to every party, but under one condition.

Deputy Michael Collins, who was elected in the Cork South West constituency, told the Cork Independent that his main stipulation was that the devastation that has been caused to rural Ireland would be reversed.

According to Deputy Collins, a massive issue in his constituency is the abundance of empty houses in the rural towns and villages while the country is experiencing a housing crisis. The TD said that another main priority for him is the health crisis and the need for a standalone Minister for Fisheries and a standalone Minister for Agriculture.

He continued: “These are the issues at the doorstep and I certainly will be dealing with those issues. If a party or group make a serious attempt to address these issues then I will consider supporting them.”

Currently, there are three big players in the running to form the next Government, after the weekend's General Election. Fianna Fáil has 38 seats, Sinn Féin has 37 and Fine Gael has 35. The Green Party follow with 12 seats while both the Labour Party and the Social Democrats have six seats. Solidarity – People Before Profit have five seats and Aontú and Independents for change both have one seat respectively.

Deputy Collins, who is one of 19 independent TDs in the 33rd Dáíl, said: “The government is going to have to be made up of different parties or groups, I am not saying who I would like to see but the most logical solution is if Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin made up with another group.”

Yesterday Labour leader Brendan Howlin announced that he is to step down as party leader, having filled the position since 2016. Deputy Howlin also said that he is not interested in serving as ceann comhairle in the 33rd Dáil.

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