Adams dismisses suggestion Sinn Féin could go into coalition with Fine Gael

Party leader said Government performance in Local elections down to policy choices

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at the Dublin City Count and European Count, in the RDS Ballsbridge, Dublin, today. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at the Dublin City Count and European Count, in the RDS Ballsbridge, Dublin, today. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has dismissed suggestions his party could go into coalition with Fine Gael after the next General Election.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar yesterday said the battle to lead the next Government would be fought between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, while others have said Sinn Féin’s strong performance in the Local elections will be used as a springboard.

Speaking at the count centre for the Midlands North West constituency in Castlebar, Co Mayo, he said a Fine Gael-Sinn Féin government would be a “most unlikely alliance”.

“Fine Gael is a party of conservatism – a party of austerity,” he said. “Sinn Féin does want to be in government. Of course we do. We’re in government in the north but we need a mandate in the first instance.

“Then we have to negotiate a Programme for Government. I can’t see any real common ground between us and Fine Gael on any issue except maybe Mayo for the All-Ireland.”

Mr Adams also dismissed claims the Local election results represented a “protest vote”.

He said the Government had been “elected on an entirely different mandate, one that [FINE GAEL]and the Labour Party have implemented”.

Mr Adams referenced a remark by Mr Kenny after a previous election, when he said the result represented “a democratic revolution”. Mr Adams said today: “This is no less a democratic revolution.

“This isn’t a protest vote. I listened to some Government spokesman trying to dismiss this as a mid-term election blip where the electorate are giving the Government a scolding or a rap on the knuckles. It is no such thing.

“This is deep rooted. It is a seismic shift in the political landscape, which has been dominated in this State by the two big parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and occasionally Labour being appended to that.

“Now Sinn Féin is here and Sinn Féin is here to stay across the island. We’ll work at building peace and we’ll work at trying to bring about a citizen-centred, rights based society.

“We didn’t make a heap of big promises. We were measured in what we said and we’ll keep our word. We won’t let people down.”