Republic of Ireland news

Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil government pact unlikely

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said his party is not prepared to enter government in the Republic as a junior partner. Picture by Cathal McNaughton/PA

SINN Féin and Fianna Fáil have played down reports of a possible coalition deal after the Republic’s general election next year.

With the highly-anticipated election set to take place by April, speculation about potential government partners is escalating within the southern media.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that the two largest Opposition parties in the Dáil looked likely to strike a deal after opinion polls indicated that their combined vote could exceed 40 per cent.

Dublin newspapers suggested that Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was refusing to definitely shut the door on a pact with Fianna Fáil.

“The wonderful thing about the elections is that nobody really knows what is going to come out of it. So when we are clear what comes out of it, we will talk to whoever we think is appropriate to talk to,” Mr Adams told reporters this week, before adding that his party would not enter coalition as a junior partner.

The Louth TD’s party today took to Twitter to dismiss the prospect of the pair going into government together, tweeting: “SF always said we will not go in as junior partner to FF or FG.”

And An Phoblacht quoted an unnamed senior Sinn Féin source saying the Fianna Fáil would first have to agree to abolishing property tax, water charges and Irish Water before there could be any prospect of an agreement.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in turn said he had “made it clear on many occasions” that his party would not be entering coalition with Sinn Féin after the general election.

The Cork TD accused Sinn Féin of “posturing” ahead of the 2016 election, saying the tactic was “nothing new and should be dismissed as such”.

“The party's policy platform and its way of doing business are incompatible with Fianna Fáil. The Sinn Féin economic policy is anti-jobs and their taxation policy would hit working people,” he added.

Mr Martin also accused the main government party Fine Gael of having “started this nonsense” as part of their own “electoral agenda”.

“Fianna Fáil's position is clear, we are competing to lead the next government and we will campaign on the need for a fairer society and to bring the recovery to all regions of the country,” he said.

Following the latest speculation, Fine Gael junior minister Simon Harris released a statement suggesting that “a vote for Fianna Fáil would be vote for Sinn Fèin”, adding: “The next election will be a choice about who will keep the recovery going, based on stability as opposed to instability and chaos.”

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