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Chances of a Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil government just got a lot smaller

TD Shane Cassells said people shouldn’t be fooled by Gerry Adams’ ‘cuddly’ tweets.

Gerry Adams and Micheál Martin
Gerry Adams and Micheál Martin
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

MEMBERS AT THE Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis has voted to categorically rule out Sinn Féin as a coalition partner in government.

There has been much debate this year about whether the two parties could do business together after the next election, with reports surfacing that some Fianna Fáil parliamentary party members were open to the idea.

However, members backed a Navan branch motion which stated that “under no circumstances” should Fianna Fáil consider going into government with Sinn Féin.

Addressing delegates this evening, TD Shane Cassells said “you don’t deal with the serpent by inviting it into your bed”.

Debating some of the party’s organisational matters, Cassells said this “housekeeping” matter was an opportune time to “put this idea to bed” and never speak of it again.

“There should be no talk of deals with Sinn Féin,” he said, adding: “We should absolutely have no truck with this organisation.”

IMG_9789 TD Shane Cassells speaking at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.

He said no one should be fooled by Gerry Adams’ tweets of teddy bears and pilates with Leo Varadkar that Sinn Féin had become a “cuddly” party.

There has been a lot of debate about the matter, with some of the discussion fuelled by his own parliamentary party colleagues, he said.

“The apologists for Sinn Fein in our own party would want to wake up and smell the coffee. Because in 2011 when we were on our knees these guys were waiting put their boats on our throats,” added Cassells.

He concluded by stating that Fianna Fáil is the true republican party.

The matter of whether the two parties could talk arose following an interview with TheJournal.ie in January when Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party was mindful of who to enter into government with as a possible junior partner, but indicated she was open to talk with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

What we don’t want is to be in government just for the thrill of it, for the personal advancement of it… We are conscience of the fact that in previous coalition arrangements, different parties have really failed to carry their politics and deliver.
Of course it is a concern. You would have to be incredibly foolish not to have that concern… But that is not to say we don’t want to be in government, of course we do.
It would be as and when it emerges a big, big challenge for us – but it is a challenge we have to take on.

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The party’s stance was also firmed up at their Ard Fheis last month.

Fianna Fáil’s Justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan is recently reported as saying the party might enter a confidence and supply arrangement with Sinn Féin.

However, Micheál Martin told reporters tonight that he is opposed to his party doing a deal with Sinn Féin and also poured cold water over O’Callaghan’s idea of a confidence and supply arrangement.

Martin told the media that he would “of course” support tonight’s motion that rules out the two parties teaming up.

“I have repeatedly said that I will not be going into coalition with them, the Fianna Fáil party will not be. I said that before the last general election,” he said, adding that he would not seek the backing of Sinn Féin even if it was the only way he could become the next Taoiseach.

He added that a confidence and supply agreement with Sinn Féin has also been ruled out.

Read: Micheál Martin says he hasn’t changed his mind about Bertie Ahern rejoining Fianna Fáil>

Read: One of the first things Martin would do as Taoiseach: Dismantle Leo’s strategic comms unit>

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