Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil representatives reject idea of coalition with Sinn Féin
Fianna Fáil spokesperson Lisa Chambers and Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond both said they would not do business with Sinn Féin
Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers rejected the idea of a coalition with Sinn Féin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil representatives have vehemently rejected any possibility of a coalition with Sinn Féin.
“It’s just not on the cards, we have no interest in doing business with Sinn Féin any time. They are a high tax party that’s been traditional euro sceptic and has many internal issues and external issues that they still need to address,” said Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.
“We appreciate the warm words from Mary Lou, but we have zero interest of ever doing business with Sinn Féin.”
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had told The Irish Times in an interview that she wanted to form a coalition government after the next election with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.
“I want to lead the party into government. I want to do that from the strongest possible position. I want us to discuss, debate, agree with others a programme for government.”
Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers also rejected the idea of a coalition.
“We’ve been very clear and never wavered; we have given no reason for anyone to think we will be entering into any deal with Sinn Féin,” she said.
“We don’t believe their policies are in the interest of the country, they are anti-business, they are not supportive of our position in the European Union, clearly the links with the IRA, with the Army Council, that hasn’t gone away. That cannot be forgotten, that cannot be swept aside. Until I see evidence to the contrary I don’t think they’re fit to be in government.”
Ms Chambers added: “Sinn Fein are trying to rebrand and change the way the party operates and the way they’re perceived outwardly, but I don’t believe they’ve changed.
“They don’t operate the way the same as any other political party, there’s a level of discipline that’s not in the interest of a healthy democracy and certainly their policies to date, they’re trying to reposition themselves, but I don’t think they’ve actually changed.
“Look at the disarray in the North - do we want to bring that style of politics to the Republic? I don’t think so and we don’t want to facilitate that. Go back to her speech at her party’s Ard Fheis when her leadership was confirmed she made a very lengthy speech, she finished it by saying ‘tiocfaidh ár lá.’
“They collapsed the institutions in the North after the Cash For Ash issue, we hear nothing about that now. They have left the north without any leadership without any voice at the most crucial time in terms of deciding the North’s future, in terms of the Brexit negotiations.
Senator Richmond pointed to Sinn Féin’s last budget submission which he described as: “constant, constant, high tax, hard left, Euro sceptic policies that run counter to what Fine Gael want to do which is rewarding work and about giving people the best chance to enjoy themselves in Ireland without having the oppressive arm of taxation that Sinn Fein are constantly looking for.
“They say they oppose Local Property Tax, but in Northern Ireland they operate a local property tax and a water charge - you have to judge a party by what they do or don’t do as is the case in Northern Ireland, it’s saying one thing in this jurisdiction and doing something different in Northern Ireland.
“It just shows exactly that Sinn Fein is a party that cannot be trusted either with the economy, with legacy issues, with their blatant sectarianism and their worrying level of Euro scepticism.”