Leader of the Progressive Democrats (PDs), TD Mary Harney outlines the prospects, possibilities, and challenges for the next government as she sets out her stall ahead of the general election.
Mary Harney succeeded Des O'Malley as Progressive Democrat party leader in October 1993. Ahead of the 1997 general election Brian Farrell introduces Mary Harney as,
A politician who has already broken traditional moulds by becoming the first woman party leader and aspires to become the first woman Tánaiste. Mary Harney is poised to share power with the party she left to found the PDs.
Much of the discussion surrounds a potential coalition between the PDs and Fianna Fáil to form the next government. Mary Harney feels that Charles Haughey has an obligation to go before the Moriarty Tribunal and that it is not good enough that he remains silent.
He's a former Taoiseach. He has a large pension from the state. He has Garda protection. He's a member of the Council of State. He can't remain silent when serious allegations are being made.
Harney sees Bertie Ahern as a different style of Fianna Fáil leader to Haughey. On the prospect of making a deal with Bertie Ahern, she says,
He's honest. He's straight. He's an ordinary person and I get on very well with him. We've known each other for twenty years. We both came into Leinster House together in 1977. I think he's a man that would be a fantastic Taoiseach.
She also comments on the compatibility of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats, in the context of the prospect of forming the next coalition government, and describes the PDs as
A new young party at the centre in Irish politics.
Harney sees the contest in the general election being between the PDs and the Labour Party to form the junior partner in a coalition government. If the PDs are successful
The focus will be on controlling public spending, radically reducing the burden of tax on work... so that ordinary workers get a break.
She also points to other areas of planned change under the PDs including reform of the prisons and environmental policies.
This episode of 'Farrell' was broadcast on 4 May 1997. The presenter is Brian Farrell.