‘Arrogant’ rivals don’t want change, says Sinn Fein leader

Clay Curtis
February 16, 2020

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has written to Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin as party talks continue on 13 February to form a government. Two members of parliament, one a senior member of Martin's front bench, strongly ruled it out on Thursday ahead of the party's first meeting since the election.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has blasted "arrogant" political rivals for denying her party a place in the next Irish Government.

Ireland's largest party Fianna Fail agreed not to go into coalition with Sinn Fein following a four-hour meeting of its parliamentary party on Thursday.

Fianna Fail has ruled out entering a coalition with Sinn Fein because of historic links to the IRA and wide policy differences over issues like how to run the economy.

There are reports that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael could enter talks to form a partnership, which would need a third party, such as the Greens, is that coalition were to have a majority in the new Dáil.

Asked if Fianna Fail would talk to Fine Gael about the formation of a government, Mr Collins said, 'That wasn't really discussed'.

Sinn Fein topped the first preference poll following this month's General Election in the Republic.

Mr Martin said: "People felt that the economic platform that Sinn Fein put forward in the election was irreconcilable with Fianna Fail's and particularly on the enterprise agenda and also in terms of its financial sustainability".

General Election Ireland 2020
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin speaking to the media outside Leinster House ahead of the first sitting of the 33rd Dail

He said: "On Tuesday morning the broad progressive left had 66 TDs and that is not enough for government".

The two lawmakers, Niall Collins and newly elected Cathal Crowe, suggested that Fianna Fail could instead lead a minority government similar to the previous administration Varadkar led via a co-operation deal with then main opposition Fianna Fail.

Ministers in Mr Varadkar's party said he would demand a rotating taoiseach role as part of a coalition with Mr Martin's party.

While Irish premier and Fianna Fail leader, Mr Ahern helped create the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which largely ended violence in Northern Ireland.

The minister there was a "stark choice" between a coalition between the two parties and holding another general election.

A source from the centre-right party told the Irish Independent there was "pretty unanimous support" for Mr Martin's decision.

He said in a statement: "Sinn Fein is looking to establish a government for change".

"That is why they said they wouldn't talk to us".

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