SF chiefs keep open op­tion of talks w ith FG and FF

Irish Independent - - News - Kevin Doyle

SINN Féin chiefs have amended a mo­tion that will be put to its mem­ber­ship this week­end in a bid to keep its coali­tion op­tions open af­ter a gen­eral elec­tion.

A Dublin-based branch of the party has tabled a mo­tion for de­bate that would limit Mary Lou Mc­Don­ald’s en­gage­ment with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

It said that, while Sinn Féin could talk to any party, its “only ob­jec­tive will be to form a broad left-wing gov­ern­ment com­pris­ing par­ties and in­de­pen­dents of a sim­i­lar po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy”.

As Sinn Féin’s adopts mo­tions from its ard fheis as pol­icy, this would have ef­fec­tively banned the lead­er­ship from en­ter­ing gov­ern­ment with ei­ther Leo Varad­kar or Micheál Martin.

How­ever, party bosses con­tacted the cumann in Tem­pleogue seek­ing agree­ment to make the mo­tion more am­bigu­ous.

It will now say that Sinn Féin “should at­tempt” to form a left-wing coali­tion, rather than hav­ing this as the party’s “only ob­jec­tive”.

Deputy leader Pearse Do­herty con­firmed the change, say­ing Sinn Féin wanted to meet with all in­de­pen­dents and par­ties af­ter an elec­tion “to see whether we could de­liver a pro­gramme for gov­ern­ment that deals with the big crises”.

The lead­er­ship of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have both cat­e­gor­i­cally ruled out work­ing with Sinn Féin.

Mr Do­herty said Sinn Féin’s aim was to be the big­gest po­lit­i­cal party.

“Ob­vi­ously the big­ger the man­date we have, the more in­flu­ence we would have in those ne­go­ti­a­tions,” he said.

Party mem­bers will also de­bate whether Sinn Féin should con­test a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion later this year.

A mo­tion calls on the ard comhairle to “pos­i­tively con­sider” putting a can­di­date for­ward re­gard­less of whether Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins seeks re-elec­tion or not.

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