Micheál Martin rules out entering coalition government with Sinn Féin
The comments follow Sinn Féin extending their lead over the government parties in last weekend's latest voters' intentions poll.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin has dispelled any notion that his Fianna Fáil party could potentially enter a coalition government with the main opposition party, Sinn Féin.
The next general election is not scheduled to occur until March of 2025, although there have been murmurings around Leinster House in recent months that a surprise general election could be called this November.
Presumably hoping to capitalise on the traditional post-budget bump enjoyed by the ruling parties, the government may seek to take advantage of what would be a rare increase in approval ratings.
However, in the most recent voters' intentions polls released by The Sunday Times, it was revealed that Mary Lou McDonald's Sinn Féin now enjoy a record lead over the coalition tandem of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Sinn Féin boast a 37% approval rating, with Fianna Fáil sitting on just 21%. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's party, Fine Gael, are lagging even further behind on a meagre 15%.
The situation leaves Fianna Fáil as the potential king makers of the next Irish government, with the choice of maintaining its relationship with coalition partners Fine Gael or entering into power for the first time ever with long-time rivals Sinn Féin.
“I believe that it is important that those institutions are restored for the people of Northern Ireland"
Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs @MichealMartinTD calls for the restoration of a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. pic.twitter.com/ghzYOytvdC
— Connect the World (@CNNConnect) April 12, 2023
Speaking to CNN International's Connect the World on Wednesday, the Tánaiste was quizzed on this exact issue, when asked whether or not he could see a future in which his party aligned with Sinn Féin.
"We want to align with parties with like minded views, particularly on the economy, enterprise and on the European Union and international issues", responded the former Taoiseach.
"In terms of Sinn Féin's policies, they are not in my view ones that I reconcile with in respect of the economy and enterprise for example, because they have an anti-enterprise approach and they have been anti the European Union for a long, long time".
Mr. Martin went on to add that "Sinn Féin have policies that are very significantly at variance with ours on all of those fronts".
However, opposition leader Mary Lou McDonald also appeared on the same show following the Tánaiste's remarks, with the TD for Dublin Central offering a retort of her own.
"I won't, but I could recite for you the many, many failures of Micheál Martin's party in government over a very long period of time. But the people, the Irish electorate, will adjudicate that", responded Ms. McDonald.
During the course of his interview, Micheál Martin also called into question Sinn Féin's past, stating that the party "need to address their legacy issues and to give proper closure to the families of victims of IRA violence in the past".
Mary Lou McDonald responded to the Tánaiste's comments by saying "On dealing with the legacy of the past, I agree with Micheál Martin that there is still a road to be travelled to bring truth, to bring some comfort and sense of justice to victims and survivors of The Troubles across the community, including those that were hurt or harmed by the IRA".
Concluding the interview, the Sinn Féin leader addressed Mr. Martin's claims that her party was adopting an "anti-enterprise approach".
"On the contrary that's a nonsense... I want my country, our country, to prosper. I want people to have good jobs, I want innovators to innovate, I want us to lead on research and development", stated Ms. McDonald.
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