Government formation: Sinn Féin open to Fianna Fáil coalition if tonight's votes fall through

Sinn Féin have publicly stated in the last week that they are preparing to relaunch talks for a left-led government
Government formation: Sinn Féin open to Fianna Fáil coalition if tonight's votes fall through
Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin

Sinn Féin would be open to a coalition with Fianna Fáil in government if today's programme for government vote is defeated.

Sinn Féin have publicly stated in the last week that they are preparing to relaunch talks for a left-led government in the event Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and The Green Party fail to have their draft document for government ratified.

The party's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said he would be open to talks with Micheal Martin's party if they agreed to a progressive programme for government.

"My view is it's all about the programme," he said on Friday afternoon.

"So in the first instance, we would try to engage with the kind of progressive parties to see can we take the programme for government, and turn it into a genuinely pro-change role for government.

And of course I'd be willing to stand with Fianna Fáil and say we'd be willing to support that kind of agenda.

"If you are willing to support a programme that proposes for 100,000 public homes, the end of the land development agency, for a three-year freeze on rent increases, and a whole range of other measures, and any parties willing to sign up to that - I could be in coalition with.

"The key is the programme, whether it's on health, on housing and childcare, climate or a United Ireland, unless there is real change in that programme, we won't be signing up to government.

"I think you could do it, but it would have to be completely different to what's on the table at the minute."

On whether the potential government between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens will last the distance of five years in government, should it be formed, Mr Ó Broin said he couldn't be sure.

"It's hard to say," he said.

I think once we successfully exit out of Covid-19 and that hasn't happened yet, I do think the public's concern is going to shift.

"I think once those issues of (housing and healthcare) bubble back up to the top of the political agenda, then if a government isn't dealing with those in an adequate way, that government is going to be short-lived, and if you consider the number of spats that we've heard between the three over the last number of weeks, if they're already at each other's throats before the government is formed.

"What's going to happen afterwards?

"If there's instability in the government it's because they will over promised under-delivered, and people who desperately need affordable homes, access to quality health care or affordable childcare."

There has been mounting speculation that Sinn Féin will table the Occupied Territories Bill in the first six months of the new government, in order to force TDs in Fianna Fáil and the Green Party who support the bill to vote against it in keeping with the government's policy.

"I'm not so sure the people of Palestine can wait six months," Mr Ó Broin said.

"Look, if and when this government is formed.

"We look at what we do with our private member's time, we will continue to pursue all of the issues we pursued before and really important international issues such as Palestine, so you know nobody's going to be surprised by the types of things we raise in the coming weeks and months, but the primary reason we raised them is that these are the right things to do.

"The Irish people want the State of Palestine to be recognised, that's a well-established fact from opinion polls and just needs to happen.

So when we do it, it'll be because it needs to happen not because we're trying to embarrass anybody.

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