Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.15 13 Feb 2020


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The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party has decided to work towards forming a government without Sinn Féin.

They have given Micheál Martin a mandate to pursue government formation talks with anyone but Sinn Féin.

There was no challenge to Mr Martin's leadership after the election, and it's understood the room is behind the stance on not negotiating with Mary Lou McDonald's party.

One TD said they would have no credibility if they did after repeatedly saying they wouldn't do it during the election.

Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry, meanwhile, this evening suggested "it's just not possible" for the party to contemplate a government with Sinn Féin.

Ruling out Sinn Féin would leave only two options on the table for Mr Martin.

One would be a grand coalition of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens or another party to make up the numbers.

The alternative would be a return to a confidence and supply agreement - but with Fianna Fáil leading it instead of Fine Gael.

However, one member of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party said to not totally rule out Sinn Féin.

He said you can't change your principles overnight, but that you can over three weeks.

Speaking after a meeting of her own parliamentary party this afternoon, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the other two main parties had an obligation to talk to her.

“They said they wouldn’t talk to us,” she said.

“That they will ignore our democratic mandate. But that stance has run out of road. Those days are over because now is the moment for change.

“Now is our time.”

She noted that there are big policy differences between her party and Fianna Fáil.

“Our objective is a government of change and the question that arises is this: Will Fianna Fáil sign up for that kind of change?” she asked.


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