No coalition as Sinn Féin ‘unfit for government’

Sinn Féin is a party unfit for government and Fine Gael will not be going into power with it, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.

Speaking yesterday at Glasnevin Cemetery, Mr Donohoe said that while ministers are entitled to espouse a personal view, the position of Fine Gael is that it does not see Sinn Féin as a suitable coalition partner.

“Fine Gael is not going into government with Sinn Féin,” he said.

When asked about comments made by junior minister and Cork South West TD Jim Daly, Mr Donohoe said he was just speaking his mind, which he has a right to.

“I think all my colleagues are entitled to give views on matters that they are asked about. I’ve done so myself in the past. It’s Jim’s right to do so but the view of the party is very clear: We will not be going into government with Sinn Féin,” he said.

Asked to respond to Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary’s comments that the Government is “cosying” up to Sinn Féin, Mr Donohoe said: “Sinn Féin are not fit for government.”

The Dublin Central TD also said he would like to see the current Government arrangement with Fianna Fáil continued in order to let it deal with the Brexit deadline of March 29, 2019.

“Yes, I do want to see the current arrangement extended. I believe the discussion in relation to the supply and confidence agreement should take place later in the year. We have a government in place that is working well, that is making progress on things that matter to the country.

“We’ve seen positive changes happen in our economy; we’re seeing improvements in public services. But we have many challenges and opportunities that we still have to grapple with,” Mr Donohoe added.

“I believe that when we get into 2019, stability in the context of what will be happening with Brexit, in particular, will be really important.

“I hope discussions that take place later in the year can reflect that and deal with that,” he said.

Mr Donohoe was the keynote speaker at Glasnevin to mark the official reopening of the tower at the grave of ‘The Liberator’ Daniel O’Connell.

Mr Donohoe paid tribute to former taoiseach Bertie Ahern for playing a crucial role in the redevelopment of Glasnevin.

Mr Ahern was among a number of dignitaries present, along with Martin Fraser, secretary general to the Government, and his predecessor, Dermot McCarthy.

Visitors to the country’s largest cemetery will now be able to climb the steps and view Dublin from the top of the O’Connell Tower for the first time in more than 45 years.

Work began on the monument in 1854 and took 16 months to complete. It stands 180 feet high. The tower was damaged in 1971, when a 10lb gelignite bomb exploded at its base, causing extensive damage.

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