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Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil tweet out videos accusing each other of considering Sinn Féin coalition

Leo and Micheál, both out canvassing in Cork today, ruled out a Sinn Féin coalition after a favourable opinion poll result for the party.

Image: Niall Carson

Updated Feb 1st 2020, 7:08 PM

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR and Micheál Martin have ruled out going into coalition with Sinn Féin, despite a recent poll revealing the party is continuing to perform well.

Varadkar accused Fianna Fáil of arrogance while naming a number of Fianna Fáil candidates he claimed have indicated they would be willing to work with Sinn Féin.

He said he does not trust Fianna Fáil not to go into government with Sinn Féin, while Fianna Fáil released a video to Twitter this evening accusing Fine Gael of the same.

This morning, Varadkar posted a video to Twitter saying he asked his Fine Gael team if they would go into government with Mary Lou McDonald’s party.

The 25-second clip show various ministers ruling out the idea of going into coalition with the party.

Varadkar tweeted: “I will never go into government with Sinn Féin. I asked my team if they would and they answered unequivocally.

Micheál Martin cannot say the same about his front bench.

Varadkar was canvassing in Cork, Kinsale and Ballincollig today.

Speaking to reporters, he said: “I don’t trust Fianna Fáil because quite a lot of their candidates have said they would be open to going into coalition with Sinn Féin.

“There is a growing list of Fianna Fáil people who are gearing up for a coalition with Sinn Féin.

“I think there are elements in Fianna Fáil who think this election is in the bag for them, they are probably measuring up curtains, appointing advisers and talking about bringing back Garda cars and that’s the kind of arrogance we are seeing from Fianna Fáil and I hope they get a surprise next weekend.”

Martin, who was also on the campaign trail in Cork today, was asked about Varadkar naming a number of his candidates who he claimed said they would be open to working with Sinn Féin.

Martin responded: “We can all do that. Regina Doherty, who is a senior minister, made fulsome comments about Sinn Féin. Jim Daly, another minister and Kate O’Connell, a TD, also did.

TDs in any normal democracy will have views and perspectives but what is absolutely clear is that actions do speak louder than words.

“Before the 2016 election this exact same campaign was launched against me, the same comments by Fine Gael.

“But in the aftermath of the election I stood by my word, and I did what I said I would before the 2016 election. I didn’t talk to Sinn Féin after the election and I think we have an honest disagreement with Sinn Féin about policies.

I believe Sinn Féin policies are very negative.

“I think Fine Gael and others are forgetting that there are other like-minded centre-parties who could do well and that’s where I am looking at in terms of the alternative.

“What is clear is that Fianna Fáil is the only party that could lead a change in government with other like-minded parties.

It should be about policies and issues and not this relentless negativity that has been the hallmark of Fine Gael’s campaign from the get-go.

The Times Ireland and Panelbase poll shows that Fianna Fáil is leading with 23%, followed by Sinn Féin with 21% and Fine Gael on 19%.

It is the first time Sinn Féin is ahead of Fine Gael in a poll for this general election.

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