Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has signalled that his party is open to government formation talks with Fianna Fáil and would even consider putting together a programme for government with their rivals.
Mr Adams said any deal for government would have to reflect his party’s demands and, if then backed by the leadership, would have to be brought before members at an ard fheis.
His comments come as government formation talks hit a new roadblock in recent days and as Sinn Féin also hosted their annual ard fheis in Dublin’s convention centre. Mr Adams used his speech at the centre on Saturday night to accuse Fianna Fáil of reneging on their election promises and of trying to put acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny back into power.
During an attack on the minority government being put together, Mr Adams also had criticism of Independents.
Highlighting the 100-year anniversary of the Rising, Mr Adams claimed that a real Republic would not tolerate the housing and homeless crisis or the scandals in hospitals.
The Louth TD claimed that his party had been willing to talk to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil after the election but that the two had refused this offer.
Targeting Fianna Fáil’s election promises, Mr Adams claimed Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin was trying to put Enda Kenny back into government, contrary to election pledges.
“That’s not in the national interest. Fianna Fáil voters did not vote to give Fine Gael another term.” Fianna Fáil’s pledge to “end” water charges had also been forgotten, noted Mr Adams.
“You promised in your manifesto to abolish Irish Water and to scrap water charges.”
Fianna Fáil maintain they only pledged to end or freeze charges for five years.
Mr Adams also targeted Independent TDs, whose support Mr Kenny needs to form a government.
Earlier in the conference, deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald launched an attack on Fianna Fáil, calling the party “Sinn Féin lite” as she accused Mr Martin of “borrowing our policies”.
But Mr Adams surprisingly admitted yesterday that Sinn Féin could be open to discussing government formation options with Fianna Fáil, among others.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Aine Lawlor on The Week in Politics
yesterday, he said:
“Our door is open to everyone, including Fianna Fáil, to talk. Bear in mind an Ard Fheis would take the decision on the outworking on all of that.
“Would we talk to them? Yes, of course…”
“If in the course of all of that, although it would be very challenging, we came up with a programme for government which did the business as far as we are concerned, our leadership would consider that and, yes, if we thought that was an advance and would help to deal with these issues…of course we would have to consider bringing it back to an Ard Fheis.”
His comments could trigger a fresh round of government talks if Sinn Féin are willing to engage. But it is widely thought Mr Adams and his party want to grow in opposition.
Furthermore, both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have ruled out working with them in power.
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