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Sinn Féin part of next coalition says Tubridy

LATE Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy has said he would be very surprised if Sinn Féin did not form part of the next coalition government in the Republic.

The RTE TV star and radio show host was in Belfast yesterday as part of an all-Ireland tour with his 2FM current affairs programme.

Among the people he inter-viewed for the show, which aired live from Eason's in Donegall Place in the city centre, was Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who was en route to meet the Queen at her first engagement at Crumlin Road Gaol.

"I think a lot of people in the south think a magic wand was waved when George Mitchell came over. We don't understand the nuances unless you see it for yourself," he said.

"We still have a massive interest in what goes on, the recent local and European elections and the political march of Sinn Féin has been extraordinary.

"When I interviewed Martin McGuinness earlier even the language has changed. He's talking about meeting the Queen again, with the emphasis on the 'again', and for that to be fairly unremarkable is in itself a stunning transformation.

"Politicians in the republic say they won't go into government with such and a such but expect people across the border to go into government with whoever in the name of peace but I think that is all changing now.

"I'd be shocked if Sinn Féin wasn't in government after the next election "Look there's one thing in doing well in local and Europe elections when there is a lot of room for protest voting so we'll wait and see but I'd go as far as to say they're in for a bonanza at the next election."

The RTE presenter said he was encouraged by the changes in Belfast.

"You don't know how you are going to be received when you come across the border but Belfast is great. I came last year with my daughter to the Titanic exhibition.

"Everything has a quarter at the end of it. I'm questioning my maths there are that many quarters but it is transformed. It has not changed completely and it still has its own identity.

"You realise that there are still people still living in divided parts close to the walls and that's not a normal way to live but the change in language and attitude is encouraging to see."

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