Fianna Fáil TDs willing to fight another election rather than work with political enemies

Fianna Fáil TDs willing to fight another election rather than work with political enemies

Newly elected and returned Fianna Fáil TDs have arrived for their first post-election meeting in Leinster House ruling out going into government with Sinn Féin.

And while some of the newest members of Dáil Éireann made their way into the Dublin city centre parliamentary buildings, other former deputies today were packing up boxes after losing their seats in the election.

Party leader Micheál Martin is briefing the parliamentary party about the election results, which saw the party return with 38 TDs, seven less than 2016. But the party also lost some 15 sitting TDs.

Members at the meeting will also give their own feedback on what many accept was a bruising result for Fianna Fáil, on the back of polls during the campaign that had suggested growing support.

Instead, the party now faces pressure to either go into coalition with Sinn Féin, who won the popular vote or potentially build a grand coalition with Fine Gael and the Green Party.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, several party TDs privately said they were now willing to fight another election, rather than work in power with their enemy parties.

“It is a case of humpty dumpty,” said one new TD, explaining that the party would need to get back up and recover from its election hammering.

Several said the party must now “hold the line” and that there were "weeks of shadowboxing" ahead as parties jostle for power .

“It is no to everything,” said a veteran rural TD.

Others suggest that voters should be allowed witness Sinn Féin in power and that a second election could then improve Fianna Fáil's fortunes.

“The country needs a dose of Sinn Féin,” quipped the TD.

Another explained how a second snap poll could in fact benefit Mr Martin's party.

“I'm ready to fight another day. But Sinn Féin might not do as well as next time with the renewed numbers for others on the left, such as Social Democrats. That could give us six or seven extra.”

Mr Martin has so far remained tight-lipped on his preferences, only saying immediately on count day that there were “significant incompatabilities” between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.

Other leading party figures and front bench members have been more opposed, with justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan even threatening not to be in government and to stay on the backbenches if Micheal Martin and Mary Lou McDonald formed a coalition.

More on this topic

Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael talks will focus on policy, not positionsFianna Fáil-Fine Gael talks will focus on policy, not positions

Coalition between FF and SF not an impossibility, says ByrneCoalition between FF and SF not an impossibility, says Byrne

Martin and Varadkar to discuss potential of so-called grand coalitionMartin and Varadkar to discuss potential of so-called grand coalition

Varadkar calls on McDonald to disband IRA Provisional Army CouncilVaradkar calls on McDonald to disband IRA Provisional Army Council