Taoiseach Enda Kenny has categorically ruled out supporting Fianna Fáil in any coalition after the next general election.
Mr Kenny said voter support would be returned to the embattled Coalition as the year went on and the economic recovery took hold.
In a wide-ranging interview with Pat Kenny on Newstalk, Mr Kenny also admitted Coalition colleagues Labour had made sacrifices and taken a bruising while in Government.
His comments came after Simon Coveney, the Agriculture Minister, told the Irish Examiner in a recent interview that he had “no ideological problem” forming a coalition with Fianna Fáil.
But in a stinging rebuke to the Cork TD, Mr Kenny said he had privately spoken to Mr Coveney.
“I see no circumstances in which the Fianna Fáil party should be returned to government. They wrecked this economy, they wrecked the lives, the careers and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of people...
“I said privately [to Mr Coveney], and publicly, my preference is for the next government to be formed by the Fine Gael and Labour party.
“I see no circumstances where Fianna Fáil, over two governments, destroyed this country, and they should never be given the chance for the foreseeable future...”
Following recent opinion polls which have given the Fine Gael-Labour coalition a slight boost from an all-time low in support in their term, Mr Kenny also added: “I think the Government will pick up support as it goes through this year as people will see now the benefits of the sacrifices they have made coming back into their pockets.
“I have to say that this has not been an easy journey for anybody. The Labour Party has made some difficult choices in terms of their political philosophy.
“I regard them as very strong colleagues in government.”
Mr Kenny said he was also going to haul the banks in and ask them why they were not lending more to businesses and people seeking mortgages.
He also said new rules to restrict mortgage lending were “balanced” and would stop another property bubble.
“I never again want to see a situation where young couples are led down the road of walking into the trap of negative equity,” the Taoiseach said.
Mr Kenny also claimed banks were in some cases not engaging with insolvency practitioners, some of whom he met yesterday.
Elsewhere, following criticism from the International Monetary Fund about spending on social protection measures and welfare, Mr Kenny agreed the Troika lender should “butt out”.
“Absolutely, they’re entitled to make their comments and their observations.
“It’s for the Government to make decisions and we want to give back what we can for people who made sacrifices in the first place.”
Mr Kenny also rejected calls from new Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras for a European debt conference.
Despite his Coalition deputy suggesting the proposal had merit, Mr Kenny said any attempt by Greece to renegotiate its debts should be done through existing European institutions.
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