Labour has said it would be “nonsensical” to enter a coalition with Fianna Fáil after the next election.
It comes after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin strongly indicated that he would be in favour of such a partnership in the future.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Martin raised the possibility of doing a deal with Labour and emphasised that the last government coalition between both parties had been a “good government”.
Yesterday, Labour’s Willie Penrose said his party is focused on rebuilding support and ruled out a coalition with Fianna Fáil, adding that it was “nonsensical”.
The Longford-Westmeath TD said: “I am not a bit interested, our only interest is trying to build the party.
“Our strong focus is to rejuvenate the party, we have to focus on that and getting new members in. We won’t be talking about government for a long time, the people don’t want us in government.
“It’s far-fetched because we are still setting out our stall for the recovery of the Labour party.”
Labour senator Kevin Humphreys echoed this belief but did not fully rule out entering government.
“At the moment we are not thinking that far ahead, at the moment we are thinking about rebuilding,” he said.
Mr Humphreys said the party is not thinking of entering any coalition but added: “The record of the Labour party in government has always been very good.
“Unfortunately we have always been in government in the worst of times. I would always consider entering government but we would want to make it very clear on the delivery of issues and social change.”
He said he believed the arrangement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will continue after the next election, but the roles of the parties would then reverse with Mr Martin’s party in power.
“We have a coalition at the moment — the coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, and Fianna Fáil are pulling the strings,” said Mr Humphreys.
“Certainly in relation to Micheál Martin, an awful lot of people have very short memories. Micheál Martin was at the cabinet table which crashed this country. He has always been a considered a conservative leader.”
Mr Martin told the Irish Examiner it was too early to focus on the next election but added that Labour had worked very well with Fianna Fáil in the past.
“The Labour party ’92-‘94 government was a very good government,” he said. “I was a backbench TD then and many people regret the manner in which that government broke up and a lot of good legislation came out of that combination of Fianna Fáil and Labour.”
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