FF TDs say coalition with SF possible - if Adams goes
An increasing number of Fianna Fáil TDs say they would have no problem forming a government with Sinn Féin.
Three members of the party's frontbench have broken ranks with leader Mícheál Martin, who has ruled out any such coalition. However, they insist that the numbers will dictate everything after the election.
The likelihood of such a coalition has been made more plausible as current opinion poll ratings put both parties virtually neck and neck alongside Fine Gael.
The most recent MillwardBrown poll for the 'Sunday Independent' placed all three parties within two points of each other.
"Of course it is a runner. If we get 40 seats and they get close to that, it is a no-brainer. Are we going to walk away from a chance of being in power? Of course not," said one TD.
But the TDs have indicated that the continued presence of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is a barrier to any possible deal and that were he to stand aside, then it would become a far more likely prospect.
"Adams has too much baggage and while it is far from us to tell anyone else how to run their party, were he to be gone, things would look very different," said another TD.
Kilkenny TD John McGuinness has already spoken in favour of such a partnership, saying: "Policy won't be a concern - we can compromise on that," if the public votes in such a way that a coalition is feasible.
Former deputy leader of the party Éamon Ó Cuiv has made no secret of his openness to such an arrangement.
"I don't have the authority to rule anything in our out. I don't know what the obsession with Sinn Féin above anybody else is, they're just another political party," he said.
Galway East TD Colm Keaveney has said he has "an open mind" on who forms a coalition, as long as either Fine Gael's Enda Kenny or Gerry Adams is willing to be Tánaiste.
Mr Martin has previously said Sinn Féin's economic policies are not compatible with his party's and therefore no agreement is possible.
Sinn Féin has described Fianna Fáil as "toxic" and several leading members have publicly poured cold water on any suggestion of such a deal.