Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and coalition


A chara, – The feigned hysteria from Fine Gael backbenchers, and a more genuine spasm of horror from media commentators, in response to Enda Kenny’s tentative suggestion that a coalition with Sinn Féin couldn’t be definitively ruled out reveal the underlying bankruptcy of what passes for political debate here.

Leaving aside the fact that Sinn Féin is most unlikely to find any common ground with Fine Gael, on health, housing, employment rights, transport, national unity or European relations, the fact is that coalitions depend on agreed programmes of government.

The idea that Sinn Féin has to be demonised and ruled out because of the armed struggle, now long over, would – if applied retrospectively – rule out almost all parties in our state from government, because almost all have their roots in the War of Independence.

Mr Kenny’s reply to a leading question was only common sense, and didn’t signify any intention on his part to pursue any such arrangement.

Equally Gerry Adams’s dismissal of the suggestion was couched in terms of the differences of economic and political policy rather than any consideration of Fine Gael’s roots in fascism or the illegalities of the Civil War.

It’s about time we all grew up, and estimated political parties on the basis of their programmes – what they say they want to do, and taking into account how much we can trust them to do it.

The bottom line is that that section of the community that has suffered most from austerity and subservience to the EU needs a radical change. Only a coalition based on such a programme is worth fighting for. – Is mise,


Cluain Dolcáin,

Baile Átha Cliath 22.

Sir, – Much is being made of the differences and possible common ground between Sinn Féin and Fine Gael. I was in the public gallery of the Dáil last June to witness a remarkable coming together of these polar opposites.

Despite the alleged ideological gulf that separates them, TDs from both parties trooped through the lobbies to oppose a Bill proposing a ban on live hare coursing, one of the vilest forms of organised animal cruelty. – Yours, etc,



Co Kilkenny.