Micheál Martin repeats position Fianna Fáil will not go into Government with Sinn Féin

Tánaiste does not rule out possibility of working with party entirely but potential coalition would not be possible with current SF policies

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has repeated his position that Fianna Fáil cannot go into Government with Sinn Féin.

Mr Martin cited policy differences but did not rule out the possibility completely, saying coalition would be impossible if Sinn Féin maintains the policy positions it holds.

The Fianna Fáil leader was speaking in advance of his party’s ardfheis which opened in the Royal Convention Centre in Dublin on Friday night.

In his opening address to delegates Mr Martin excoriated Sinn Féin and its record in Government in the North, and in the Oireachtas in the South.


“In the three elections which will be held over the next year they are hoping to bulldoze their way to power,” he said.

“They hope they can avoid scrutiny, avoid the hard questions everyone else has to answer – but we’ll make sure that they have to answer for the reality of their policies and the terrible impact they would have on Ireland.”

Expanding on that theme when speaking to reporters, Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil could not negotiate with Sinn Féin “if it maintains policy positions they’ve been wanting to maintain on Europe, like it’s flip flopping on the whole area around the Middle East, for example, one week, they were not calling for the expulsion of the ambassador and the next week they were.”

In his speech, Mr Martin also emphasised education, farming and housing as well as immigration. In a signal of the Government’s toughening policy on this issue, he told delegates.

“We also fully understand that the global migration crisis is causing huge pressures, particularly in the European Union.

“Our policy has to be firm and fair. In asylum cases we have to respect humanitarian needs, but also join with others in speeding up decisions.”

Mr Martin defended the party’s decision not to invite Israeli ambassador Dana Erlich to the ardfheis. He said the reason for not inviting her was that Fianna Fáil was “not satisfied” with what was going on in Gaza.

He said that a distinction needed to be made between a political party and a State. He said he believed in diplomacy and did not believe in expelling Ms Erlich.

“I was asked 12 months ago to expel the Russian ambassador. I was asked to expel the Iranian embassy,” he said.

“I believe in keeping challenge channels of communications between governments open through their diplomats.”

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times