Sinn Féin wants to maintain misery in Ireland, Rabbitte claims

Ex-Labour leader rules out coalition and says his party have concerns over running of SF

 Labour TD and former party leader Pat Rabbitte has claimed that Sinn Féin has a vested interest in the maintenance of misery in Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Labour TD and former party leader Pat Rabbitte has claimed that Sinn Féin has a vested interest in the maintenance of misery in Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Sinn Féin has a vested interest in the maintenance of misery in Ireland, former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte has claimed.

Mr Rabbitte ruled out any potential coalition between Labour and the party, saying that there was a deep nervousness in Labour about the running of Sinn Féin.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Rabbitte said: “Sinn Féin has done very well from austerity.

“Sinn Féin would like you to think that there has been a dramatic increase in support for a united Ireland and that [that] accounts for their increase in the polls. They have a vested interest in the maintenance of misery in Ireland.

“They have done very well from it. They have opportunistically exploited the economic circumstances.

“Austerity is no longer central to the argument in Irish politics, the question now is fairness and distribution, and just as austerity has abated, the Sinn Féin vote is abating.”

Sinn Féin TDs have indicated that they would be willing to enter coalition with the Labour Party.

A number of party members have said that they want to lead a left-wing government and that the Labour Party could form part of that.

However, Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection Kevin Humphreys said that Labour would not enter any coalition with the party.

Mr Humphreys said: “I won’t be going into coalition with Sinn Féin and I don’t foresee any day soon where that will happen.

“Not only is their moral compass off, so is their economic policies. It is not good for the State.

“In many ways I see Sinn Féin as just a different type of Fianna Fáil, that operates the Galway Tent in New York instead of Galway.”

Mr Humphreys was referring to fundraisers organised by Sinn Féin in the US, the latest of which raised €400,000 for the party.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin also ruled out any future coalition with Sinn Féin.

He said that Sinn Féin has no values and is only in favour of what is popular and against what is unpopular.

Mr Ó Ríordáin said: “They have proven in Northern Ireland they are not interested in governing and they have councillors around the country who haven’t a clue what they are doing. They have no interest in people.

“They put their party ahead of everything, They are very similar to Fianna Fáil. The party goes ahead of everything.

“They cannot understand why the SDLP would put peace ahead of their own political party and why Labour put the people of Ireland ahead of their own political fortune.

“They actually can’t get their head around that public service, that kind of political action because for them the party is everything.

“The movement is everything for them.”

‘Desperate attack’

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh responded to Mr Rabbitte’s comments, saying that nobody is fooled by the desperate attack from the Labour Party.

Mr Ó Snodaigh said that Labour is “the party that has spent five years screwing ordinary people and now on the eve of an election wants to promise them the sun, moon and stars if they are re-elected - like Joan Burton’s recent promise to increase the old age pension.

“The big difference between Sinn Féin and the Labour Party is that Sinn Féin won’t sell out its principles to get into power.

“We have made it clear that we will not be a smaller coalition party under Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.

“That is because we know that smaller parties cannot get their policies implemented in government with those conservative parties.”