FF NOT IN LOVE WITH LOU

Micheal Martin rules out coali­tion with Sinn Fein af­ter his­toric elec­tion

Irish Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY FERGHAL BLANEY

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

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