Martin restates opposition to SF coalition after poll bounce

‘No one could sign up to what they are promising,’ says FF leader of SF proposals

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has again firmly ruled out any prospect of leading a coalition with Sinn Féin.

Despite a number of his TDs suggesting such a deal could be done, Mr Martin said there is “a fixed will in the party” against it.

"I keep getting asked this question. The Fianna Fáil party will not be going into government with Sinn Féin," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

Mr Martin said Sinn Féin’s tax proposals would destroy enterprise.


“Do no underestimate the strength of will within the Fianna Fáil party . . . within the parliamentary party . . . who have all rejected the prospect of a Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin coalition.”

Mr Martin's comments came a day after the latest opinion poll indicated an increase in popularity for Sinn Féin, with the party placed ahead of Fine Gael and level with Fianna Fáil.

The Business Post/Red C poll puts Sinn Féin at 24 per cent, up 3 per cent on the previous survey by the same pollsters a week earlier.

Fianna Fáil is down 2 per cent to 24 per cent and Fine Gael down 2 per cent to 21 per cent. In the space of the two surveys, Fine Gael is down 9 per cent and Sinn Féin up 11 per cent, confirming a trend in other polls.

Mr Martin said there will be no argument about a Fianna Fáil-Sinn Féin coalition after the election as a majority of the parliamentary party have been “consistently against going into government with Sinn Féin”.

“No one could sign up to what they are promising. They are not doable in the first instance but they will be deeply damaging to enterprise and jobs in the country,” said Mr Martin.

Fianna Fáil is the only party that can lead an alternative government and the Green Party and Labour should not be ruled out of coalition prospects, he said.

People are ruling out Fianna Fáil leading a government with “like-minded centre parties”, he said.

“I think they are being written out of the equation far too easily and far too early.”

Mr Martin said the confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael was “out of necessity” as a no-deal Brexit would have been “catastrophic” for Ireland.

“It was difficult for us, very frustrating,” he said.

The “world will not collapse” in relation to Brexit if there is a change of government, he said.

“What Fine Gael have been trying to do in this campaign, unfortunately, and I regret it really, because there was a genuine national consensus on Brexit, Fine Gael have now attempted to party-politicise Brexit during this election campaign. I don’t think people are going to buy into it, I don’t think it resonates with people.”

Mr Martin said a change in government will not change or undermine the country’s approach to Brexit.

Suggestions by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that Fianna Fáil would stymie social change in Ireland was "more of this relentless negativity name-calling which is beneath the office of An Taoiseach I would say".

“It is also regrettable,” he said.

Fine Gael was the last party to support marriage equality and Mr Varadkar was the last party leader to declare a position on the Eight Amendment, he said.

“It is very regrettable that the Taoiseach in the middle of an election campaign is trying to make these issues divisive once again.”