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Having ruled out Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, would Fianna Fáil go into coalition with Labour?

Micheál Martin’s been pressed on potential coalition partners again this afternoon.

Micheál Martin speaks to reporters this afternoon.
Micheál Martin speaks to reporters this afternoon.
Image: Daragh Brophy/TheJournal.ie

Updated at 2.17pm

AFTER VARIOUS REMARKS on potential government bedfellows over the course of Fianna Fáil’s two-day think-in event in Roscommon, leader Micheál Martin was pressed by reporters once again this afternoon on the issue.

With an election on the cards at some stage in the next 18 months, who was he ruling in? Who was he ruling out?

Martin has been doing the rounds of local and national media in the last 24 hours from the Abbey Hotel, where TDs and senators have been meeting for their pre-Dáil get-together.

Yesterday, he appeared to rule out a FF-FG union, while he played down the likelihood of a deal with Gerry Adams’ party. He also spoke on the subject in a Morning Ireland interview today.

But how about Labour?

“I’ve said we’re not going into government with Fine Gael and we’re not going into government with Sinn Féin. I can’t be any clearer,” Martin said, as the issue was raised in a final doorstep interview with journalists.

We’re a political party. My view is we have as a political party historically, traditionally stood on the basis of our policy platform — and that’s what we’re going to do.

But the electoral maths means that in the wake of the next election, deals will have to be done, a reporter stressed. Surely it’s a little hasty to start ruling rivals out, at this early stage?

[Daragh Brophy/TheJournal.ie]

Martin’s reply:

Before the last local elections not one person here and not one opinion poll predicted we would be the largest party in local government. We turned out to be the largest party in local government.

“So I rest my case that I’m not going to be governed by opinion polls. I’m not going to be bounced into deciding what’s going to happen after the next election by opinion polls.”

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Asked, finally, whether he could categorically rule out a pact with Labour, he declined to do so.

“Obviously, the public will decide,” he said.

I don’t know where the Labour Party will be after the next election.

So — nothing definitive, but hardly the beginnings of a courtship.

At the Labour think-in in Wexford, Joan Burton was also playing down the prospect of a post-election deal…

Given that we’ve been dealing with Fianna Fáil’s legacy — the horrors that the country fell into in their last numbers of years in office, I’m not sure that we’d be rushing to that decision.

Read: Lack of women makes Leinster House a “really weird” place to work, says Senator >

More: Fianna Fáil spends the most on two by-elections – but fails to nab a seat >

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Daragh Brophy

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