Were Fine Gael to make a decision on participation in government with FF – a process in which FF members would have a direct involvement, while we’ll have none - it will stuck in the craw of our members for far longer than the likely political careers of those who making such a decision on our behalf.
While it is not explicitly required by the party rules, if FF members (by means of a special Ard Fheis) are included when our members are excluded, it puts we, the ordinary members of supposedly the likely senior government party, in the ha’penny place.
It is those voiceless members who have spent many hours and days speaking to voters, those vote-less members who selected most of ye as candidates at conventions. and it is those same powerless members whose continuing support is vital to any campaigning to have the party returned to government in future.
To have FF members participate directly in the decision to go into government with us while our own FG members are outside the window looking in, will send a clear message that we’re to be the poor relations in the arrangement. Any suggestion based on some “informal consultation process” while FF members get to cast a ballot will be unlikely to salve the wound such a process will inflict on party cohesion.
Be well aware that if we were to form a government with FF, their backbenchers and members locally will spend every moment of that time making pretence to be the local and vocal opposition to any potentially unpopular government decisions while also being the first to claim credit for anything positive. e..g each increase in the old age pension will be hailed as sign of what compassionate FF were able to do against those heartless people in FG. Ignoring the cold reality that it was their bankrupt policies that might there was no money for increases the last few years. It’ll make the relationship between the late Jackie Healy Rae and former minister John O’Donoghue appear a model of cordiality.
Above all, we should be mindful of the fable of the scorpion and the frog. If this decision is to be made, then it would be best made by all of the party or not at all.