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A vison for the future?

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    A vison for the future?

    From the Irish Indo

    McDowell rules out all partners but FF

    Tanaiste's big gamble on return to power as all bets off on Opposition deal

    PROGRESSIVE Democrats leader Michael McDowell has ruled out going into government with Fine Gael and Labour.

    Mr McDowell also ruled out a possible rainbow involving the Greens - narrowing his room for manoeuvre significantly and basically leaving the party with the sole option of Fianna Fail as a partner.

    "The Progressive Democrats will not be joining a FG/Labour-led coalition, or a FG/Labour/Green-led coalition," said the Tanaiste last night.

    He also repeated that his party would not participate in a government which was dependent on the support of Sinn Fein TDs.

    Referring to Labour leader Pat Rabbitte's refusal to rule out a post-election deal with Fianna Fail, the Tanaiste said people were entitled to know "precisely what they are voting for" in the election.

    He said there was an appetite for clarity from party leaders. "Those who seek clarity on the issue should also give it."

    "A sceptical electorate is entitled to apply the Ronseal test to those who seek their support - will it do what it says on the tin?" said Mr McDowell, who was speaking at his Dublin South East selection convention.

    He said the PDs would contest the election as "an independent party that remains prepared to govern with either of the parties with which it is ideologically compatible" - Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. But he said Fine Gael had "sadly handcuffed itself to Labour" and had "clearly stated that it would prefer to do a deal with Labour and the Greens than form a coalition with the PDs."

    He added: "Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens have each separately indicated that they are seeking votes and mandates to put the PDs out of office and to end our political influence.

    "It would be a monumental cheat on the electorate and a recipe for political disintegration for the PDs to support such a government or to attempt to join it," he said. "It would destroy the very reason for our party's existence."

    He said the PDs believed the electorate would "decisively reject" the Mullingar Accord between Fine Gael and Labour .

    Dismissing the Rainbow option he said: "We will campaign against the creation of such an unstable and incoherent government."We will not join or support such a government because we believe that a second election would be preferable to the establishment of a non-viable rainbow government."

    Gene McKenna

    Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale