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