FF will not accept Sinn Fein support


Fianna Fáil will not accept the support of any Sinn Féin TDs in the Dáil vote for the post of Taoiseach after the general election, the Minister for Justice, Mr John O'Donoghue has said.

"I do not believe that they can be in government and I do not believe that any legitimate Taoiseach can have the support of any organisation that has an illegal army attached to it," he declared.

The development marks a further deterioration in the relationship between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, following a speech by the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle member, Cllr Martin Ferris on Sunday.

Cllr Ferris had asked how the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, could justify ruling out coalition with Sinn Féin in the Republic when he is prepared to deal with them on Northern Ireland issues.

However, the Minister for Justice said there was no contradiction, insisting that Sinn Féin did not have a role in security questions in Northern Ireland.

"We are a long way from the stage where Sinn Féin can participate in any sensitive security matters in this State," said the Kerry South-based Minister.

The strong attacks reflects some Fianna Fáil concern that Sinn Féin could damage its chances of taking the final seats in a number of constituencies, even if SF candidates themselves cannot win.