Bríd Smith claims some Greens ‘raging’ about prospect of coalition

People Before Profit presses Sinn Féin to rule out going into government with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil

Brid Smith pictured during a press briefing in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Brid Smith pictured during a press briefing in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith has claimed there is “an argument” opening up in the Green Party about whether or not it should enter into a coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil following the general election.

The Dublin South-Central TD said the Green Party’s willingness to enter a coalition has “opened up a hornet’s nest amongst their feminist and youth section, who are really raging about it”.

People Before Profit has called on Sinn Féin to “categorically rule out” going into coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil. Ms Smith said Sinn Féin remains “ambiguous” whenever the question of propping up Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil is put to the party.

Speaking in Dublin on Thursday, Ms Smith said: “There’s an argument opening up within the Green Party as well. I think it is exemplified by Saoirse McHugh in Mayo, where there’s a big argument in the Green Party about this same approach.

“They’ve [the Green Party] been more clear about it, they would do a deal, but it has opened up a hornet’s nest among their feminist and youth section, who are really raging about it. I think they need to smell the coffee as well and get real about the potential for massively disappointing their voters.”

Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party, did not rule out working with any particular party during the RTÉ leaders’ debate on Monday night.

Ms McHugh, a Green Party candidate for Mayo, has previously said she is against the party going into a coalition with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

However, speaking on RTÉ on Tuesday, Ms McHugh said: “I would only go into coalition with a programme for government I could stand over.”

Ms Smith said there is a “historic opportunity” now to “see the back of” the two largest parties.

“We are at a historic moment in Irish politics because the combined vote of the two conservative parties makes up less than 50 per cent of electorate,” she said.

“The prospect of a radical government that is not run by Fianna Fail or Fine Gael is coming into sight if not at this election then in the near future.”

Ms Smith said parties of the left had been “ate up and spat out by these conservative blocs” in the past, pointing to the experience of Labour and the Green Party in previous coalitions. She said their experiences in Government should act as a warning to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Rise TD Paul Murphy said there was a danger that Sinn Féin voters could be left “sorely disappointed” following the general election if “their votes, which were votes made on the basis of a rejection of the parties of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, if those votes end up putting Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael back in power”.