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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 5 April, 2020

Pearse Doherty will head up Sinn Féin's team in talks to form a government

As the election dust settles, the next focus is on who will form a government.

Pearse Doherty of Sinn fein speaking to the media today.
Pearse Doherty of Sinn fein speaking to the media today.
Image: Sam Boal/

SINN FÉIN’S PEARSE Doherty will lead the party’s team in negotiations with other parties to try to form a government.

The finance spokesperson will be joined by Louise O’Reilly, Matt Carthy and Eoin Ó Broin.

In an announcement this afternoon, Sinn Féin said it will seek meetings with all parties, beginning tomorrow with parties that received “a mandate for change”. 

Doherty said they have already reached out to a number of the left-wing parties today and yesterday – including the Social Democrats, the Green party, Solidarity-People Before Profit and the Labour Party.

TDs, political commentators and party figures have been commenting today on how likely it is that Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil would go into government together.

Fianna Fáil have secured the most TDs in the Dáil: but have 6 fewer TDs than in the last Dáil, and just one more TD than Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin came away with 37 seats – that’s 15 more than they had when the last Dáil was dissolved. 

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have previously ruled out going into government with Sinn Féin, saying that they’re not a normal party; and Sinn Féin has said that it would prefer a government without FF or FG, and will explore that option first.

McDonald has said that she wants to hold talks with the smaller parties first, such as Labour, the Green Party, and the Social Democrats. 

Mary Lou McDonald said today: “The people voted for change and Sinn Fein will do everything that we can to deliver a government for change.”

I also welcome the fact that Fianna Fáil have shifted their position about talking to Sinn Féin and understand that this election has changed everything.

“There should be no delay in government formation,” she said.

Speaking to reporters, Doherty said that their priority was to form a government that “delivers on the big issues of housing, of health and climate change, on the right to a pension at 65, and that gives workers a break”.

He also said that the party would pursue policies that would “advance Irish Unity”. 

“In the first instance, we have already reached out to those parties who received a mandate for change and those discussions will start tomorrow.

“I also welcome the fact that Fianna Fail have shifted their position and are opening to discussing with Sinn Féin, and I think they now recognise that this election has changed everything.”

Doherty added:

“Our job is to explore the options that are available for delivering real change, delivering solutions on housing, in health, climate change, pensions and preparing for Irish unity and making sure that workers and families have a break.

“It is my firm belief that there should be no delay in terms of government formation.

“We have urgent work to do and we are ready for that and up for the task and we need to get on it and this process has already started from Sinn Fein’s point of view.”

This isn’t just Sinn Fein’s victory, it’s the people’s victory. We have to try and make sure we find common ground with others,” he continued.

Doherty said common ground can be found with other parties including issues such as introducing a rent freeze and reducing rent payments for people.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime with Doherty, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan accused Sinn Féin of promising the people a manifesto that could turn Ireland into Venezuela. 

When asked would he serve in a FF-SF coalition government. O’Callaghan responded:

“If there is a complete u-turn by Fianna Fáil, I wouldn’t serve in that government.”

He also clarified that he would remain as a Fianna Fáil TD if this were to happen. 

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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