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

The Sinn Féin TD said that junior coalition parties “get screwed” in government.

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

MARY LOU MCDONALD has expressed her view that Sinn Féin would have to be the largest party in the country before it would consider going into the government after the next election.

The party’s deputy leader said that it was her personal view that it would be the only way Sinn Féin could guarantee “sufficient influence and sufficient clout” and pointed to the negative experiences of previous junior coalition parties.

She was speaking at the start of a political year that could yet conclude with a general election despite the Taoiseach’s repeated insistence that the vote will not take place until the spring of 2016.

McDonald told reporters in Dublin today: “My personal view is I would like to see Sinn Féin in government as the larger party in any coalition arrangement.

“My personal view is that that would be the only way in which we could guarantee that we would have sufficient influence and sufficient clout to make sure that you actually went in and did something genuinely different and that you could bring about change.”

She said that history had shown that any other set of circumstances had shown that the smaller smaller party in coalition arrangements “kind of gets done over, gets screwed”.

McDonald added that it was her own preference that there be a “distinctively left government” after the next election but acknowledged it would be difficult given the current political state of play.

She said it would be “deeply problematic” for Sinn Féin to do a deal with Fine Gael and “problematic” to do anything with Fianna Fáil. She said that the independents are “disparate”

“I haven’t figured out what that government would look like,” she said, adding that Sinn Féin would not “enter a government arrangement for the Mercs and perks”. 

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McDonald also said that there was “no way that Sinn Féin is going to be a repeat of the Labour party” in government accusing it of “abandoning promises”.

On a possible Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition she said that the two parties should “kiss and make up” and added:

“I think the Civil War is over. There isn’t really a wit of difference between them at this stage in policy terms.”

Read: He’s ruled out Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, so could Micheál Martin do a deal with anyone?

Read: Could Enda Kenny do a deal with independents after the next election?

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Hugh O'Connell

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