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Video: 'I'm not ruling anything out' - Micheál Martin on Fine Gael or Sinn Féin coalition

The Fianna Fáil leader also explained why his party didn’t introduce a property tax when in government and outlined his views on social media in a wide-ranging interview with TheJournal.ie this week.

Micheál Martin speaking to TheJournal.ie this week
Micheál Martin speaking to TheJournal.ie this week
Image: Screengrab

MICHEÁL MARTIN IS not ruling out the possibility of Fianna Fáil going into coalition with either Sinn Féin or Fine Gael after the next general election but said it was not something he was focusing on at this moment.

In a lengthy interview with TheJournal.ie this week, Martin said that little had changed in terms of the way politics has been conducted since the formation of the Fine Gael and Labour coalition two years ago.

“There was no political change,” he said this week. “The Dáil is still the creature of government, there is no strong parliament, there is no separation between parliament and government.

“We don’t bring in people from outside of the government, there’s no change to the electoral system. So people are rightly sort of disillusioned with the lack of any radical political reform.”

Martin said that leading Fianna Fáil, which was in power as the country was plunged into an EU/IMF bailout less than two years but which has topped a recent opinion poll, gave him an opportunity to lead it in a different direction.

“I am not ruling anything in or out at this stage. It’s far too early,” he said when asked about the possibility of going into coalition with either Fine Gael or Sinn Féin after the next general election.

On coalition with Fine Gael or Sinn Féin:

Current polls project that Fianna Fáil would win around 50 seats at the next election so it would need the support of one other major party in order to form a government but Martin said this was not concerning him at present.

“What I am more concerned about is renewing the Fianna Fáil party and we’ve a long journey to go.

“I mean I think people are jumping the gun in terms of the next election and who gets what because it’s very speculative at this stage and its based on kind of opinion polls and so on.”

Martin also explained that the party’s decision to oppose the introduction of the property tax last December was based on the fact there was a mortgage arrears crisis in the country.

He said that growth targets set out in the four-year-plan in 2010 did not come to fruition.

“The property market is very flat at the moment. We’re not really going to help it by the imposition of the property tax at this particular point in time,” he said.

On property tax and why Fianna Fáil didn’t introduce it:

Martin also said that while the recent deal on the promissory note issued in respect of the former Anglo Irish Bank was a positive step the government should have asked for a debt writedown.

He said that that any savings on the deficit should be put towards budgetary measures saying that there needed to be an “alleviation of the taxpayers’ plight”.

“The ordinary citizen on the ground isn’t getting an respite from the major agreements that have been made between banks and governments,” he said.

Asked about the rise of social media websites and their impact on politics and politicians Martin said he was keen that the government did not overreact to the advent of new media but said he had concerns about how young people are affected by it.

“My one concern would be around how children and issues pertaining to children can go viral too quickly with potentially damaging consequences to the child so there’s an issue around children’s rights that concerns me,” he said.

On social media:

More from Micheál Martin’s interview with TheJournal.ie:

Read: ‘We have an issue with suicidal risk in abortion legislation’

Read: ‘I do feel a certain degree of guilt over Magdalene Laundries’

Micheál Martin: I still keep in touch with Brian Cowen

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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