Martin says ‘huge difficulties’ with prospect of Sinn Fein-Fianna Fail coalition

Martin Says ‘Huge Difficulties’ With Prospect Of Sinn Fein-Fianna Fail Coalition
Micheál Martin also said there are “very serious issues” about Sinn Féin’s policies, citing its response to the heightened Israel-Hamas conflict in October in particular.
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has said there would be “huge difficulties” with his party going into Government with Sinn Féin, but did not rule out the possibility of such a coalition.

Asked by reporters if he would accept the role of Tánaiste by going into coalition as a minority partner with Sinn Féin, Mr Martin said: “Our aim is to go in, and I’m elected as Taoiseach, that’s the objective.”


He said he did not accept that it was certain that Sinn Féin, which is polling as the most popular party, would be in the next government.



Mr Martin added: “The parties in opposition to Sinn Féin are on 40 per cent minimum at any given poll, Sinn Féin are down at around 30, and suddenly you’re all jumping to the conclusion that it’ll be a Sinn Fein-led government? I don’t get that.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, he said: “Some of you seem to be of the view that that is where it has to be – it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Mr Martin also said there are “very serious issues” about Sinn Féin’s policies, citing its response to the heightened Israel-Hamas conflict in October in particular.

“Particularly in terms of its initial response, going for the populist perspective, changing its position within a week on the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, and failing to point out how that would help us get Irish citizens out of Gaza at the time.


“We get the sense that in government they would be dragged all the time by the far-left into positions that are untenable and that are irresponsible.

“That was very evident in terms of its foreign policy and in terms of other policy initiatives.”

Stormont Assembly
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald (Liam McBurney/PA)


As a further example, he said Sinn Féin had a “Liz Truss-approach” to caps on energy prices, adding: “We saw where that ended up in the UK”, in a reference to the negative impact on the British economy following decisions in Ms Truss’s short term in office in 2022.

Mr Martin said: “When the election comes we will make the position crystal clear, but I’m focusing on policy at the moment, and taking it policy-by-policy, I see very little in their positions or in their behaviour.

“We saw recently in the crime case, in terms of looting in Dublin and the attacks on the gardaí and bus drivers, Sinn Féin, when the State was under attack, decided to go on a political and electoral track.”

Sinn Féin had called for the resignation of Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.


He added: “I think they miscued on that but its further evidence of how they view things through the electoral prism all the time, almost exclusively – and not, in my view, in a more serious track.”

Pressed if he could therefore not rule out a coalition with Sinn Féin that would place him as Tánaiste, Mr Martin said: “That’s a position the party will come to in due course.”

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