Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has opened the door to a possible coalition with Fianna Fáil after the next election.
In her ard fheis address in Derry on Saturday night, Ms McDonald said her preference is for a “left-led” government, and, under Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil has moved to the left of the centre-ground.
While Mr Martin has repeatedly ruled out such a coalition, many of his front bench would prefer to do business as the majority party with Sinn Féin, rather than have a repeat of the confidence and supply deal with Fine Gael.
Ms McDonald said Sinn Féin will be ready to “talk and listen” to other parties about forming a government after the election, making it clear SF is seeking office, even as a minority party.
Ms McDonald said: “After the election, we will talk and we will listen. Our preference is for a left-led government. Let the other parties tell us if they are willing to implement a republican programme for government.
Then that is the only basis on which Sinn Féin would enter government.
After bruising local and European elections, the Dublin Central TD said she understood there are some who believe the party should never talk to other parties about government.
“Those fears are understandable. But the housing crisis will only be solved with Sinn Féin in government,” she said.
“Following the general election, we have a choice to make. Not about being in government for the sake of it, but about how we best implement our policies, our solutions. We should be guided, not by our distrust of other parties, but by our confidence in republicans.”