Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has said he will not seek the backing of Sinn Féin even if it is his only possibility of becoming taoiseach after the next general election.
Mr Martin issued the unequivocal rejection of Gerry Adams’ party and ruled out entering any formal coalition with Fine Gael despite admitting “no one will win” the next national ballot outright.
Speaking at the start of the Fianna Fáil ard fheis at the RDS in Dublin and as party delegates last night backed a Navan branch motion that “under no circumstances will Fianna Fáil enter into a coalition government with Sinn Féin”, Mr Martin said he would not cut any deal with the rival party.
Asked in Irish during a media briefing if he would seek Sinn Féin support if it was his only way of becoming taoiseach after the next general election, he said: “I don’t agree. And the proposition doesn’t follow, I’m positive Fianna Fáil will not be going into government with Sinn Féin.
“We are worried about the direction that party is going and the amount of discipline the headquarters has on the membership. It’s unbelievable to see. I have fundamental problems with the discipline issues in the party, it’s not healthy in terms of the democratic system we have.”
Mr Martin also said a confidence and supply deal with Sinn Féin was “not a runner” and will not be considered either.
He equally ruled out entering into a full coalition with Fine Gael, saying the move was rejected before the last general election by his party and would be ruled out again if the option was put to him.
“Nothing has changed, we’re not going into government after the last election, we said we’re not going into government with Fine Gael or indeed with Sinn Féin. That still applies.
“Indeed, the Fine Gael leader has made it very clear he has no intention or desire to go into government with Fianna Fáil.”
The Fianna Fáil leader’s comments came despite the fact he said “no one will win” the next general election outright, meaning some form of coalition government is inevitable.
However, despite a minority of Fianna Fáil’s parliamentary party increasingly of the view that Sinn Féin cannot be entirely ruled out — particularly once Gerry Adams is no longer its leader — Mr Martin has consistently said the option cannot be considered.
Meanwhile, party members last night backed a motion to definitively reject any possibility of a coalition with Sinn Féin.
The motion from the party’s Navan branch was passed unanimously, with party TD Shane Cassells telling delegates it is the correct course of action.
“You don’t invite a serpent into bed with you.
“Some of the apologists for Sinn Féin would want to wake up and smell the coffee,” he warned, adding that Sinn Féin was ready to “step on our necks” in 2011 when it believed Fianna Fáil would not survive.
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