Saturday 24 June 2017

Kenny in firing line over 'nonsensical and concerning' Sinn Féin comments

Enda Kenny. Photo: Damien Eagers
Enda Kenny. Photo: Damien Eagers
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is in the firing line from his own TDs after opening the door to the possibility of Fine Gael entering a coalition with Sinn Féin.

Backbenchers and ministers have privately told Independent.ie they are “deeply concerned” and  “shocked” by the party leader’s sudden change of tack on the issue.

And a number have now publicly rejected the notion of sharing power with Gerry Adams.

Prior to last year’s General Election Mr Kenny said Sinn Féin were “not fit for government” and as far back as 2009 he said: "I made it perfectly clear that Fine Gael would not be doing business with Sinn Fein and I have no intention of revisiting that.”

However, when asked about the possibility yesterday, the Taoiseach replied that he had also previously ruled out doing business with Fianna Fáil who are now propping up his minority government.

Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell said “talk of a coalition with Sinn Féin is nonsensical and concerning”.

“Should Sinn Féin ever enter a coalition government in the Republic, I cannot imagine it ever being with Fine Gael.

“I would say that the likelihood of them making it into government would be at the discretion of others in the opposition benches, specifically, Fianna Fail, should the prospect arise.

“In short, Fine Gael entering coalition with Sinn Féin would be nonsensical both in terms of policy and ideology,” he said.

Dublin South West TD Colm Brophy said he would not support Sinn Féin being brought into government “in any way, shape or form”.

“I believe they would wreck the economy of our country. I believe they are completely incompatible with Fine Gael,” he said on RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke programme.

Longford/Westmeath TD Peter Burke echoed those sentiments, saying Fine Gael needed to “challenge” what he described as “left-wing populism” from Sinn Féin.

And Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd said his constituents would not support him “if I voted for or went into government with Sinn Fein”.

He said there were too many unanswered questions about Sinn Féin’s links to the IRA and suggested Gerry Adams wants people to believe he was nothing more than the “chairman of the west Belfast tiddly-winks committee”.

There was some unease within Sinn Féin too with the party’s Dublin West TD Eoin Ó Broin tweeting: “Is Enda Kenny having a laugh! Why would any self respecting republican want to be in coalition with a right wing partitionist party?”

The party’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said she wants to be in government “but not at any price”.

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