Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has again rejected any possibility of his party forming a post-election coalition with the “mafia-like” Sinn Féin, despite colleagues and one senior Sinn Féin TD insisting a deal could be struck.
Mr Martin specifically ruled out an agreement between the two parties and claimed that Fianna Fáil can form a government by itself, despite an opinion poll yesterday showing it could form a coalition with joint support available.
Speaking at his party’s annual Wolfe Tone commemorations at Bodenstown cemetery, Co Kildare, Mr Martin said he is not considering any joining of forces with the “mafia-like organisation” Sinn Féin after the election.
While colleagues Éamon Ó Cuív, John McGuinness, and Colm Keaveney have all previously said they would consider such a coalition, Mr Martin said Sinn Féin has “used methods which dishonoured the Republic” and that “its first loyalty has always been to its own and not the Irish people”. He added: “It is a mafia-like organisation.”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams hit back, saying Fianna Fáil is “politically bankrupt” and that the comments are “cynical opportunism”.
Sinn Féin justice spokesman Padraig Mac Lochlainn said a post-election deal could be struck between the parties, provided such a coalition still had a left-wing slant.
Sinn Féin’s policy, agreed at its last ard fheis in February, is for it to only consider such a coalition if Sinn Féin is the majority party, a position Mr Mac Lochlainn says is now “foolish”.
“If we are one or two seats smaller than Fianna Fáil after the election, we would be foolish not to look at entering negotiations,” he said.
The latest opinion poll shows Fine Gael on 24% (down 3 percentage points), Fianna Fáil on 19% (down 1pp), Sinn Féin stable on 19%, Labour on 8% (up 2pp), and a cluster of other parties on 29% (up 1pp).
The 29% figure is broken down as Independents on 12%, Socialist Party-Anti Austerity Alliance-People before Profit on 7% (up 2pp), the Independent Alliance on 5% (up 1pp), Renua Ireland unchanged on 2%, Green Party on 1% (down 1pp), Social Democrats stable on 1% and Workers’ Party on 1% (down 1pp).
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has declined to say if he will add sitting TD and ex-minister John Perry to the Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim ticket after he failed to be selected on Friday night.
While Mr Kenny had said all sitting TDs will be allowed defend their seat, he said officials need to “reflect” on the issue.
Mr Perry lost his junior minister position last year after a €2.47m judgment in 2013 over unpaid Danske Bank loans.
Ex-TD Gerry Reynolds and sitting TD Tony McLoughlin have instead been chosen to run on a two-person ticket in a constituency that Fine Gael insiders say is tightly contested, meaning a third candidate may not be possible.
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