Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have strongly rejected any notion of going into government with Sinn Féin after the next general election.
It means a Sinn Féin motion passed at their ard fheis over the weekend, which opened up the possibility of the party becoming a junior coalition partner, may have no relevance after an election.
The leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have both come out to vehemently rule out doing a deal which would see Sinn Féin enter government as a minority partner. The Labour party has also ruled out going into government with Sinn Féin.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night said his position on coalition with Sinn Féin remains unchanged.
“The faces in Sinn Féin might be getting younger but their policies are the same,” he said.
Mr Varadkar added that Fine Gael is in coalition with the Independent Alliance and independent ministers and claimed the current Government “is working and I want to make it last”.
He was backed up by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy who said Sinn Féin is “nowhere near ready to go into government”.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also hit out at Sinn Féin, claiming a new leader would not change the party and members would also put the “provisional movement first”.
Mr Martin said: “They might be new leaders but they are not new faces. For one moment let’s assume that Sinn Féin will act against type and actually hold a democratic election for its next leader.
“The fact is that every one of their potential leaders joined Sinn Féin before the ceasefires, and has repeatedly defended the Provisional IRA’s campaign,” he told those attending Fianna Fáil’s presidential dinner over the weekend.
However, Gerry Adams, who announced he will be standing aside as Sinn Féin president next year after 34 years, described Mr Martin’s comments as “cynical”.
“The reason why Micheál Martin doesn’t want Sinn Féin in government is because Micheál Martin and Fine Gael and the broad establishments here have run this State in their own narrow interests for the last almost 100 years.
“Where I take issue with Micheál Martin isn’t with him saying Sinn Féin shouldn’t be in government, he is entitled to say that, but it’s the negative, petty tone.
“This is a man who was 14 years around the cabinet table when all these big decisions were made, never once did he stand up and say ‘stop’.”
Mr Adams claimed the 3,000 children in emergency accommodation, and the crisis of hospital trolleys, were Micheál Martin’s legacy.
“We are saying that Sinn Féin will build homes, will sort out the housing crisis, will sort out the North, and will face up to the reality of Brexit,” Mr Adams said of entering a coalition government. He he also claimed the motion had not changed the party’s position, as Sinn Féin has always had the option of going back to an ard fheis with proposals around going into government.
Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan said she remained “very concerned about the party’s culture”, adding: “I don’t think there’s any great evidence that the culture has changed.”
Mr Adams, who announced details of his departure to around 3,000 Sinn Féin members in Dublin’s RDS on Saturday night, yesterday said he will not miss Dáil Éireann.
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, he said: “I won’t miss it at all at all. I think it’s a small cosy little club. I think it has all of the worst aspects of the old British system.”
While he admitted “some good work” is carried out by TDs, he added: “I can tell ya, it would fry your head to listen to the nonsense that is talked.”
Mr Adams ruled out running for President of Ireland.
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