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Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams at last year's Leinster House Christmas carol service. Sam Boal
New ball game

A future Fine Gael and Sinn Féin coalition? Not completely impossible, it would seem

Enda Kenny has declined to rule out whether Fine Gael would consider going into coalition government with Sinn Féin.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has declined to rule out whether Fine Gael would consider going into government with Sinn Féin,muddying the waters on his previous stance which was against such a coalition.

In an interview with published last Sunday, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party was mindful of who to enter into government with as a possible junior partner if the situation arose.

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.

McDonald repeated her party’s change in stance on national radio later in the week .

When asked about her comments, the Taoiseach said:

“I saw the comment from the deputy leader of the Sinn Féin party. I am glad that they are now beginning to realise that in order to get things done you need to be there.”

When pressed on the issue of a possible Fine Gael – Sinn Féin coalition government, Kenny said:

I don’t see Fine Gael doing business with Sinn Fein that’s not going to arise under this administration in any event.

However, with this government losing three votes in the last eight days, this minority government doesn’t appear to be on solid ground these days.

So, Kenny ruled out business with Sinn Féin during this administration – but what about the next election?

Are all bets off? Or, after a divided election, are political parties now reassessing who they might get into bed with?

“I said I wouldn’t do business with Fianna Fáil so depending on the result you gave as a member of the electorate, politicians have to work with the result,” said Kenny.

Could this change of stance leave the door open to Sinn Féin being the junior party in government with Fine Gael? The Taoiseach replied with just one sentence:

The next one [election] is probably a much stronger result for Fine Gael I would think.

What do you think?

Poll:  Would you like to see a Fine Gael – Sinn Féin government next time around?

Poll Results:

No (2037)
Yes (722)
I don't know (212)

Next in line: Mary Lou talks McGuinness, great women and ‘cutting the crap’ in the North>

Read: A day with Simon Coveney: The contender for Taoiseach who has to first fix Ireland’s housing mess>

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