Fine Gael TDs opposed to any future coalition deal with Sinn Féin

Comments from Kenny and Varadkar and Adams and McDonald suggest parties could link up

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. Two Fine Gael TDs have voiced their opposition to the prospect of the parties  forming a coalition government in future. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. Two Fine Gael TDs have voiced their opposition to the prospect of the parties forming a coalition government in future. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

 

Three Fine Gael TDs have voiced their opposition to the prospect of Fine Gael and Sinn Féin forming a coalition government in future.

Figures from the two parties have this week indiciated such an agreement could be a possibility in the future.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny declined to rule a future alliance out, though he said he did not envisage such a scenario arising in the near future.

Earlier this week, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald raised the prospect of the party entering government after the next election as a junior coalition partner.

Fine Gael TDs Colm Brophy (Dublin South West) and Peter Burke (Longford-Westmeath) told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke they did not share Mr Kenny’s view.

“Sinn Féin is not a party I would want to see as part of our government,” Mr Brophy said.

“God knows Fianna Fáil have their faults, but they are a modern democratic party, Sinn Féin is not. As long as that remains the case they should not be in government.

‘Regressive’

Inside Politics with Leo Varadkar

Mr Burke said the Taoiseach’s comments may have been taken out of context given Sinn Féin was a party with “regressive” policies.

“I cannot countenance Fine Gael going into power with Sinn Féin,” he added.

Mr Kenny was repeatedly asked about Ms McDonald’s comments at a briefing with political correspondents on Thursday.

“I said I wouldn’t do business with Fianna Fáil so, depending on the result you gave as a member of the electorate, politicians have to work with the result,” the Taoiseach said.

Mr Brophy said any future link-up between the parties should not be taken by the Fine Gael leader or its elected representatives but rather the party’s full membership.

“It is very important that within our party that we examine the implications.”

He said he did not want to contemplate the damage that Sinn Féin would cause to the State’s economy if in power.

“There are too many questions about that party.”

Separately, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell (Dublin Fingal) said talk of a coalition with Sinn Féin was “nonsensical and concerning”.

“Putting the history associated with Sinn Féin aside for a moment, their economic policies alone would disqualify them from ever entering government as part of a coalition with Fine Gael,” he said.

Mandate

Speaking before an audience at a live recording of The Irish Times politics podcast on Thursday night, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar expressed similar sentiments.

“I can’t see it, I wouldn’t seek a mandate for it and I think our policies are so far apart that it wouldn’t be possible.

“What I do know though going into the last general election is – if I remember correctly – we ruled out going into coalition with Fianna Fáil and subsequently offered a coalition with them and we ruled out dealing with any Independents and ended up dealing with quite a few of them, so I now know we are a democracy if I didn’t know that before and it’s actually the public and the people who decide the make-up of the next government but [I]absolutely do not envisage and do not seek a mandate for a coalition with Sinn Féin.”

In an interview in today’s Irish Times, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams says the party’s position on ruling out coalition could easily be overturned by another ardfheis.