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Would Fianna Fáil go into coalition with Sinn Féin? It'll be up to the members, says Ó Cuív

The parties’ recent success at the local elections has created more talk of a possible future coalition in the Dáil.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL MEMBERS will ultimately be the ones who decide if the party goes into government with Sinn Féin if the situation arises after the next general election, the party’s former deputy leader Eamon Ó Cuív has said.

Ó Cuív, a grandson of Fianna Fáíl founder Eamon de Valera, has criticised the “obsession” over whether Fianna Fáíl should or could do a coalition deal with Sinn Féin in the event of both parties having sufficient Dáil seat numbers to form a majority after the election.

After success for both parties at the local elections last month, the question of whether the two, who both consider themselves republican, could form a coalition has arisen in recent weeks.

Ó Cuív said that it will ultimately be ordinary party members who will determine if a coalition with Sinn Féin is a viable option, not the parliamentary party.

He said that the whole debate is “hypothetical” but added: “It won’t be the parliamentary party that makes this decision. It will be the membership. If you want to ask 20,000 members what they think…

“I don’t have the authority to rule anything in our out. I don’t know what the obsession with Sinn Féin above anybody else is, they’re just another political party.”

While party leader Micheál Martin has repeatedly said that he does not think Fianna Fáil’s policies are “compatible” with Sinn Féin others within the party have said privately that it cannot be ruled out.

Martin told this website in February of last year that it was “far too early” to rule out any party as a coalition partner. But he has since sought to double down on his more recently stated belief that a FF/SF deal is unlikely.

The party’s jobs spokesperson Dara Calleary concurred with the leadership’s view, saying: “We’re too far apart on economic issues and I’d find it difficult at this stage in the political process who would be able to bridge that gap and form a stable government.”

Calleary added that the party shouldn’t be in the business of “going into power for the sake of going into power”.

February 2013: ‘I’m not ruling anything out’ – Micheál Martin on Fine Gael or Sinn Féin coalition

Read: Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin the most popular coalition option

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Hugh O'Connell

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