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Adams thinks Kenny should leave government, not be discussing future coalitions

As for Sinn Féin and Fine Gael sharing power? “It would be a most unlikely alliance.”

20140525_184336 Gerry Adams in Castlebar this evening. Source: Orla Ryan/TheJournal.ie

WHEN ASKED ABOUT the possibility of a Sinn Féin Fine Gael coalition, Gerry Adams laughed and said it was “most unlikely”.

Earlier today Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to rule out such a union after the 2016 General Election.

Speaking in the same building in Castlebar – the count centre for the Midlands North West constituency – just a few hours apart, the pair seemed to have different views on any possible alliance.

On the contrary, Adams said that the election results indicated it was time for Fine Gael to leave government.

“Enda, It’s time to go. You were elected on an entirely different mandate from the one that you and the Labour party have implemented.

I think it would be a most unlikely alliance. His is a party of conservatism, of austerity. Sinn Féin do want to be in government, of course we do … but we need a mandate in the first instance and then we need to negotiate a programme for government.

“It’s a decision our Árd Fhéis would make if we came to that point but I can’t see any real common ground between us and the Fine Gael leadership on any issue, except maybe Mayo for the All Ireland.”

“Hungry for change”

Referencing recent comments made by the party’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, Adams noted: “We’re hungry for change but we’re not hungry for government. We need the terms right. We’re not going to leave our principles at the door just to go into government … it’s obvious that’s what Labour did.”

“Fine Gael are a conservative party but they made a lot of promises as well that they didn’t keep and they can’t excuse it. That’s what I found on the doors, what people were offended by was the way they were taken for granted.

As Pat Rabbitte said famously: ‘That’s the sort of thing you say during an eleciton campaign.’ I think people were very offended by that.

Adams said it was wrong to dismiss the gains of his party and independent candidates as “a protest vote” or a “scolding or a rap on the knuckles” for the government.

“This is no such thing. it is deeply rooted. It is a seismic shift in the political landscape here. It’s been dominated in this state by the two big parties – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and occasionally Labour being appended to that, but now Sinn Féin’s here and Sinn Féín’s here to stay.”

Peace process and the Adams arrest

Adams said the party remains focused on the peace process, adding that he will be meeting with senior politicians in Washington this week about “the need to get the proposals by Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan into advancement as quickly as possible”.

“One of the good things that came out of my arrest was that the governments were forced to acknowledge that there were difficulties in the peace process. Now that they’ve acknowledged it, we’re looking to the Taoiseach, we’re looking to the British prime minister to do something about it.”

Adams said his party’s success this weekend was the result of “a lot of very, very hard work by a lot of good people”.

Euros 2014

He said he was confident about the chances of Lynn Boylan, (Dublin) Liadh Ní Riada (South) and Matt Carthy (Midlands North West) all secuting European Parliament seats.

Carthy said that exit polls and tallies were indicating “conflicting” outcomes but said he was ”fairly relaxed”.

He noted that it was a “massive weekend” for the party, but added: “We can’t take anything for granted.”

Enda Kenny refuses to rule out coalition with Sinn Féin or Fianna Fáil>
Gerry Adams: We didn’t have enough candidates to capitalise on Sinn Féin’s popularity>
Check out our Elections 2014 LiveBlog, keeping you updated>

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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