Grassroots Fianna Fáil members prefer Sinn Féin coalition to Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil members would not accept a coalition with Fine Gael and would rather do a deal with Sinn Féin provided Gerry Adams steps down as leader.

Grassroots Fianna Fáil members prefer Sinn Féin coalition to Fine Gael

Grassroots members of the party will have a significant role to play in any potential coalition as they are required to vote on whether to accept or reject a deal.

It appears there is no appetite, at local level, to go in to power with Fine Gael.

Most grassroots supporters would prefer to stay in opposition for another term to build the profile of some newly elected TDs.

If forced to enter a government coalition, members would favour Sinn Féin as they believe they share similar ideological values, but there would have to be a change of leadership to make this a possibility.

Longford Comhairle Dáil Ceantair PRO Denise O’Flaherty pointed out that the Civil War mentality still exists among members who would never accept a deal with Fine Gael.

“A lot of the older members would go back to the days of Dev,” she said.

“People would still call [Fine Gael] the Blueshirts and they would still be the enemy.

“Some of the older members would prefer Sinn Féin. If there was a change of leader they would go for Sinn Féin.”

If party leader Michéal Martin manages to hammer out a deal, it would have to be put to the grassroots members to vote on. This would be done through a special ard fheis where members would be asked to approve or reject any draft programme for government.

Tommy Hannon, the chairman of Ballinasloe Comhairle Ceantair, said members favour more time in opposition.

He said any motion to go into government with Fine Gael would be strongly defeated by members.

“There is also a fear of Fianna Fáil losing their identity if they went into government with Fine Gael,” he said.

Mr Hannon said members would be more willing to do business with Sinn Féin. “I think they would have to come out clean in public before any coalition and Fianna Fáil would have to be very happy that they have distanced themselves from any criminality,” he said.

“Talking to people at the count, since then and even prior to the election, we had favoured another term in opposition at this time.

“The party has been very effective in rebuilding itself. It has a lot of talent and new blood who would do very well in opposition.

“The party needs time to rebuild over a couple of years and needs time to breathe and grow.”

Willy Kavanagh, chairman of Enniscorthy Comhairle Ceantair, agreed there would be no appetite for a coalition but members may consider supporting a minority Fine Gael government. “The members in Wexford canvassed on the basis that we would not go into coalition with Fine Gael and we will stand by that,” he said.

“I am a publican here in Wexford and speaking with customers in the pub — some of them would be Fianna Fáil, some are not — they all are saying maybe Fianna Fáil should support a minority government. I don’t see any other way.

“I would prefer to be in opposition for the next five years to build our party.”

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