FF NOT IN LOVE WITH LOU
Micheal Martin rules out coalition with Sinn Fein after historic election
SINN Fein was dumped by its potential Government partner yesterday in a Valentine’s eve bombshell.
A historic coalition with Fianna Fail is dead in the water after Micheal Martin flatly rejected sharing power with Mary Lou Mcdonald’s party. Despite an incredible election mandate, it leaves her out in the cold and paves the way for a Ff-fg-greens union with an 85-seat majority – or a return to the polls.
Mr Martin said his party and Sinn Fein were not a good match, adding: “I wouldn’t rule out another General Election.” Ms Mcdonald said a return of FG and FF would be a “slap in the face” to voters.
»»Martin rejects deal after meeting with his TDS Mcdonald says it’s a ‘slap in face’ for voters
FIANNA Fail TDS have told their leader they are not prepared to share power with Sinn Fein in a move branded by Mary Lou Mcdonald as a “slap in the face” to voters.
Micheal Martin finally killed off the chances of a coalition following a fourand-a-half hour parliamentary party meeting yesterday.
He said his 38 TDS were “emphatic” that such a deal was dead – throwing open the possibility of another election.
One source close to Mr Martin told the Irish Mirror: “It was never going to happen, simple as that.”
There are 160 seats in the Dail and 80 is the magic number for a majority with the independent Ceann Comhairle staying out of normal votes.
With Sinn Fein now ruled out by the two other biggest parties, the most likely route to a government is a grand coalition of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens, whose respective seats of 38, 35 and 12 give a total of 85.
Sinn Fein won 37 seats, but their hopes for a government of the left look highly unlikely, especially since Labour ruled themselves out due to their mandate of only six seats.
If Sinn Fein teamed up with the Greens, adding 12 seats to their own 37, plus six from the Social Democrats and five from People Before Profit/solidarity that would total 60 – still 20 off a majority.
They would then need an unreliable mish-mash of nearly all of the 23 independents to make it work. Ms Mcdonald said leaving Sinn Fein out in the cold was “a slap in the face to the electorate”.
The party won 50,000 more first preference votes than Fianna Fail in the General Election and have taken the lead in the early days to try and form a government. Speculation had been rife in the corridors of power that Fianna Fail were on the brink of a historic union with Sinn Fein, who almost doubled their tally from an outgoing 20 seats to 37.
Fine Gael had a disaster, going from a 2016 showing of 50 to 35. Fianna
Fail also had a bad campaign, dropping from 45 to 38, but were the largest party in the State by a thread.
But the party’s deputies, who met in the bowels of Leinster House yesterday, ruled any talk of a coalition with Sinn Fein.
One frontbench TD told the Irish Mirror: “No way was I ever going to back it.
“She [Mary Lou Mcdonald] said last week we were incompatible, then she sends a letter, what’s that about?
“Let her run with it now and try to form their Government.”
Mr Martin emerged from the meeting to hammer the message home.
He said: “I’ve been speaking to every member of the parliamentary party, it was important that we came out here to say it [that Fianna Fail will not be going into coalition with Sinn Fein].
“Sinn Fein is changing every 24 hours, 24 hours ago they were very emphatic they didn’t want to go into government with Fianna Fail, then I get a letter.”
Mr Martin added the formation of a government will now be very difficult and said: “I wouldn’t rule out another General Election.”
He has not contacted Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar yet about the possibility of the two joining together in coalition.
Fianna Fail’s Marc Macsharry added: “There was overwhelming support for the position that the compatibility with Sinn Fein policy is not possible for us to work with.
“We totally respect the mandate and the people who voted for them, but from a policy point of view it is just not possible to be in government with them.”
Ms Mcdonald said: “We are stepping our way through a process where we work out what this government for change might look like.
“My first preference is for a government without Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.
“The seats are now filled and it looks like it would be tricky to form such a government.
“There are huge differences between ourselves and Fianna Fail. “Micheal Martin has adopted a position that I believe is so far untenable, to say that he would not speak to us.
“We represent such a significant section of Irish opinion and I think anybody who followed and participated in the election cannot have missed the appetite for change.
“It was writ large – everybody agreed that that was fundamentally the theme of the election.”
Let her run with it now and try to form their government
FIANNA FAIL TD DUBLIN YESTERDAY
THE horrific murder and dismemberment of young Keane Mulready-woods was described by a priest yesterday as “appalling wickedness and evil”.
The tragic teen was lured to his death in Drogheda last month and brutally slaughtered before his body was chopped up and dumped around Dublin.
The savage act shocked not just the Co Louth town but the entire country.
Parish Priest Fr Phil Gaffney told mourners at his funeral Keane was taken “in the most gruesome way”.
He was right when he said there was great fear and pain at the thought we live in a society where some people see themselves as “judge, jury and executioner”.
The child’s funeral was delayed as gardai sought to find all his body parts – in the end not all of his remains were recovered.
The country was stunned when severed legs and arms were found in Coolock, North Dublin, on January 13. Two days later the boy’s head and hands were found in a burning car in Drumcondra.
Fr Gaffney acknowledged Keane had his troubles – he had fallen in love with the bling lifestyle of the gangsters.
But he hoped the teen’s awful end might be a warning to others being groomed by ruthless criminals the promise of easy money and gifts will only end in tragedy.
POLLS APART Leaders Micheal and Mary Lou
HOPES DASHED Micheal Martin will not share power with Sinn Fein
OUT IN COLD Sinn Fein deputies and members outside Leinster House yesterday
SNUBBED Ms Mcdonald