There's so much to unpack in today's Examiner article about the talks. First - what's missing from the headline: we're talking about developments on public land.
Second - we signalled all of these issues from the start and went in on the basis that there was scope for compromise.
But it tells us so much about FG's approach to policy, talks, and the world. Here are their issues with us:
a) We aren't capitulating on our red lines
b) We're not content with just soundbite commitments
c) We're making negotiations hard for them
Er... what's wrong with any of this?
Take the headline: Green Party demand cap on building profits. We campaigned for public housing on public land. Facilitating any big private developers to profit from state housing is a big concession. No compromise from Fine Gael on their position - in fact, here we have a new red line (unlimited profit) since the letter on April 28.
Next, climate. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agreed to halving emissions by 2030. That's an average of 7% per year, with at least one election in between. Major policy actions will be needed from Day 1. In April, Fine Gael wanted to talks about the specific actions needed. Now, they refuse to commit to any.
Other areas not yet agreed:
- austerity (Fine Gael alone insisting it must be on the table)
- pension age (Fine Gael alone won't move from 67)
- Shannon LNG (Fine Gael & Fianna Fáil have hardened their stance since April)
All of these will be escalated to the party leaders. And here we encounter the rub. The clear implication from the article is that Fine Gael's negotiators think the party leadership is the 'soft touch': that like a belligerent supermarket shopper, they'll get their way as soon as they escalate it higher.
If that's true, they're in for a serious shock before all this is over. Greens don't fudge hard decisions: we take the least-worst option and own it. However, a choice between our core principles (on one hand) and pleasing Fine Gael (on the other) isn't hard!
If Fine Gael truly want talks to move faster, they could always try doing some of the compromising.