Let Me Tell You: Episode 4 — Sinn Féin will talk to anyone about a coalition for change

Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly said if the party wins enough seats to form a coalition in the next election, it would approach any party that 'wants to be part of a change agenda'
Let Me Tell You: Episode 4 — Sinn Féin will talk to anyone about a coalition for change

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise Louise O'Reilly, said that any discussion after the next election would 'come down to numbers". Picture: Stephen Collins /Collins Photos

Sinn Féin is open to speaking about a coalition with anyone, the party's enterprise spokesperson says.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Irish Examiner's bespoke Let Me Tell You podcast, Louise O'Reilly said that any discussion after the next election would "come down to numbers" but that Sinn Féin will talk to "all and every party".

Ms O'Reilly said if Sinn Féin wins enough seats to form a coalition in the next election, it would approach any party that "wants to be part of a change agenda".

"I suppose you have to look at the numbers, I mean, there might be people that you look at and think you'd be comfortable enough in government with, but if they don't bring the numbers, well then all the chats and cups of tea in the world wouldn't make any difference.

"It's got to be someone you could negotiate a programme for government with — a Republican programme for government, a programme for government focused on a quality program that will deliver the change that we see that people really want.

"It depends on how many numbers we have, whether or not we're in the driving seat. I hope we are." 

Ms O'Reilly added: "We've said we'll talk to anyone and we will. We made that clear with the last election and we'll be making that clear, I would imagine, again.

"Our members will want us to talk to anyone that wants to see us in government. 

Our supporters want to see us in government. It behoves us to talk to all and every party. 

"But you wouldn't know until you to see the numbers, what sort of negotiations those are going to be."

The Dublin Fingal TD spoke of the turnaround in Sinn Féin's electoral fortunes between the 2019 local elections where the party lost 151 council seats and the 2020 general election, where it claimed 37 Dàil seats.

She said that while she felt Sinn Féin was ready for the general election, they would "not make the same mistake" of running comparatively few candidates again.

"We had the policies, we had the personnel, we had the campaign but I don't think we were ready for the extent of the success.

"I'd be an eejit if I was sitting here saying 'oh, we anticipated it'. You can see that we didn't anticipate the level of support. But it became fairly obvious from almost, I would say the second or third day of the campaign, that that support was there for us and you could feel it start to pick up and you could feel that momentum starting to build."

Ms O'Reilly said the party did not feel like it had missed a trick in the middle of the election, because the focus was on practical considerations.

She said that the 2019 election had shown the value of the party "getting out its vote" and said that some reps had hoped "the work would speak for itself". This, she said, translated into a renewed grassroots vigour in 2020.

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Hosts Daniel McConnell and Paul Hosford take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments in recent Irish political history from the unique perspective of one of the key players involved.

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