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Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams at a 2011 general election TV debate Julien Behal
The Dáil returns

Gerry Adams and Micheál Martin are preparing for government... but not with each other

The Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil leaders were in bullish mood today.

Updated 3.30pm 

GERRY ADAMS AND MICHEÁL Martin have both said today that they are preparing for government ahead of a general election which will take place in the spring of next year at the latest.

The Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil leaders have been speaking today ahead of the resumption of the Dáil tomorrow afternoon, but Martin has again firmly ruled out any coalition with Adams’s party.

Speaking at Leinster House this afternoon, Martin said he had been saying since last September that he was preparing for government.

“Every political party has an obligation, every political leader has an obligation, to lay out a policy platform,” he said.

“What we would like is that the next 12 months would be on issues and the kind of society that we want to evolve over the next five years.

“I hate to think that the next election would become just another shallow election around who can meet the other person’s tax cut with a better tax cut. I think it needs to be more substantive than that.”

Earlier Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams said he believed that the current government is “on its last legs”.

He was speaking as Sinn Féin TD and Senators gathered in north inner city Dublin today for a think-in ahead of the resumption of the Dáil tomorrow afternoon.

“We’re actually here preparing for government, that’s our focus,” Adams declared to the media today.

“We’re seeking a mandate to be in government and this is a government which is on its last legs. Whether it lasts to 2016 or not, the people have clearly give it notice to quit.”

He accused the current government of having come in with “all those high-flowing promises” which he said have subsequently been broken.

Previewing the next Dáil session, Adams said the party was focussed on policy formulation and how best to hold the government to account.

Asked about potential coalition partners, Adams said that this was a “secondary issue”.

“First of all we need a mandate to be in government then of course we have to negotiate a programme for government… Our focus isn’t on who our partners might be,” he added.

Adams’s deputy, Mary Lou McDonald, stated last week that her preference was that Sinn Féin be the largest party in any coalition arrangement.

This view is shared by several of her senior colleagues in Sinn Fein with the party increasingly indicating that it would not entertain any coalition arrangement after the next election unless it is the largest party.

But Martin again reiterated his opposition to any coalition with Sinn Féin today.

He added: “I think they need to change as a party and I think they need to become far more facilitative of diverse opinions within its ranks and I’ve a lot of issues with Sinn Féin.”

- with reporting from Órla Ryan

State of the Nation: Can Fine Gael stop screwing up in 2015?

Read: Mary Lou thinks Sinn Féin would have to be the largest party to go into government

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