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This Sinn Féin senator went slightly off-message today

In contrast to party colleagues, Kathryn Reilly didn’t rule out the possibility of Sinn Féin entering coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

Kathryn Reilly
Kathryn Reilly
Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

A SINN FÉIN senator has not ruled out the possibility that her party could go into coalition with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil despite senior party figures having done so.

Kathryn Reilly, the youngest member of the Oireachtas, made the comments in the wake of much talk in political circles about the options facing each party after the next general election.

Senior Sinn Féin figures, including leader Gerry Adams, have repeatedly ruled out the prospect of the party entering government with either of the two main establishment parties.

But Reilly, 26, said that while neither the current government of Fine Gael and Labour nor Fianna Fáil are delivering or advocating “a fair recovery” she could not rule out anything given any coalition deal is a matter for ordinary Sinn Féin members.

“As has been spoken about a number of times it will all depend on our mandate, what we get, what other parties get and what our party members say. As I say, it’s all up to our members,” she said outside Leinster House today.

It’ll go to an extraordinary Ard Fheis, our members will decide, but it will look at what other parties are putting to the table and what a programme for government will be.

“But Sinn Féin are very very forthright in what our principles are, in what we stand for, and we will not go into government to be put on the backfoot by any party.

26/5/2012. Sinn Fein Ard Fheis Day 2 Kathryn Reilly being held aloft by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

“Our party ourselves, we have our own principles, we have our own policies, we’re very forthright with that with the public and if the public want to give us a mandate to deliver upon that we need a party that will do that with us.”

Asked if this meant she was not ruling out doing business with anyone, Reilly responded:

I can’t rule out anything. I am only one member of my political party. One member, one vote.

Despite this apparent deviation from the position of other Sinn Féin members, Reilly did reiterate the party position that it will not go into government as a junior coalition partner after the next election.

She said the party wanted to make sure “that we’re leading the agenda”.

We’ve seen a lot of parties going into government as the minority party, they have given up on their principles. We’ve seen them being decimated by larger parties and we don’t want to do that.

We don’t want to prop up a party that aren’t on the same page as us, that aren’t advocating for a fair recovery like us and we want to be the largest party in government.

The economics graduate added that she did not believe that Sinn Féin members would decide to enter into coalition as the junior partner.

Reilly unsuccessfully ran for the Dáil in Cavan-Monaghan at the last general election and is widely expected to run for Sinn Féin alongside incumbent TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin at the next election.

Read: Sinn Féin hits back at ‘cult’ allegations

Read: What on earth is going on here?

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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