Gerry Adams: Enda Kenny should still travel to the White House for St Patrick's Day
SINN Féin leader Gerry Adams has said that Taoiseach Enda Kenny should still travel to the White House for St Patrick's Day even if a government isn't formed by then.
However, Mr Adams - who is travelling to Washington DC himself for the festivities - said he believes that ministers who lost their seats should not be sent abroad to represent the government and that there is a "question mark" over the rest.
A number of ministers, including James Reilly, Alex White and diaspora minister Jimmy Deenihan, won't be returning to the Dáil.
A government spokesman this afternoon said no decision has been taken on the trips - where ministers promote Irish business, culture and tourism - as yet.
Asked by Independent.ie about his view on St Patrick's Day travel if a new government isn't formed in the next two weeks Mr Adams replied:
"Well there's an option for them not to go around the world. In the past we've been represented very well by ambassadors and consulates.
"I think there is an argument for the Taoiseach, even though he might not have the mandate, to represent the State."
"We [Sinn Féin] haven't discussed this in any detail but I'm sure people will be a bit offended if they see somebody traipsing off as a minister when indeed they were rejected at the polls. Now I'm not personalising that. That's just the reality of that."
"So the short answer to that is, yes certainly the Taoiseach but a question mark over the rest of them.
Asked if he would represent the country in a European capital or elsewhere if requested as part of a cross-party deal in the absence of a government he confirmed he already has plans to travel.
"I will be travelling and others in our party will be travelling. We always do that and the diaspora expects that. They expect the State to be represented but they also, because they give a lot of support to our particular party, like to see us represented. So we're going to be flying anyway and it won't cost the taxpayer any money.
"I'll be in Washington and New York," he said.
Deputy leader May Lou McDonald confirmed that she will also be travelling for St Patrick's Day.
"Once I get over the election jet lag, [it'll] be in to more jet lag. I'll be in New York. I may also be in Washington too and perhaps a third city."