Sunday 26 February 2017

Mary Hanafin: Fianna Fail will 'absolutely' not go into government with Sinn Fein

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Mary Hanafin
Mary Hanafin

Newly-announced Fianna Fail General Election candidate Mary Hanafin has come out fighting against Sinn Fein saying her party will never go into government with them.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' programme, Ms Hanafin, who lost her seat at the last election, said she does not want to see her party go into coalition with Fine Gael either as this will ensure Sinn Fein will be the country's biggest opposition party.

Fianna Fáil Councillors Mary Hanafin, Cormac Devlin and Kate Feeney at the party selection convention for Dun Laoghaire at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney. Picture: Arthur Carron
Fianna Fáil Councillors Mary Hanafin, Cormac Devlin and Kate Feeney at the party selection convention for Dun Laoghaire at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney. Picture: Arthur Carron

The former minister, who was added to the Fianna Fail ticket today to stand for election in Dun Laoghaire after missing out at the party's selection convention, told Sean O'Rourke that experience was needed for the new government term - but she denied it was about the "old guard" making a return.

During the interview, she said her party would be prepared to talk to all sides regarding the formation of a new government - all parties and individuals except Sinn Fein.

"We have to let the electorate speak and then we have to work with whatever they give us.

"There are some choices which I myself would certainly not be party to it for example, I will quite clearly say Fianna Fail, and if I'm a member of that, will not go into government with Sinn Fein and I would absolutely say that," she said.

Former minister Mary Hanafin
Former minister Mary Hanafin

When quizzed as to whether Fianna Fail would be prepared to go into government with Fine Gael, she said it wouldn't do the "long-term" future of the country any good.

"I actually wouldn't like to see Fine Gael and Fianna Fail go into government together because I don't think it would be in the long-term interests of the company. Not necessarily of the party. Because that would mean Sinn Fein would become the largest opposition party and that would give them the platform, enabling them to built up to being in government later on and I would not like to see that," she said.

On her Fianna Fail leadership prospects, Ms Hanafin said her main aim is to win a seat in the challenging three-seater constituency of Dun Laoghaire and any ambitions for leadership does not come into it.

"I'm not sure that would ever arise again. I did throw my hat into the ring the last time even though I knew I wouldn't."

However, she did make an interesting statement about Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

"But I'm really interested to see that [Fine Gael's] Frances Fitzgerald, who actually lost her Dail seat and served in the Senate for five years, came back and was made a minister. And now you're all talking about her as a future taoiseach," she said.

She also told Sean that Fianna Fail's decision to add her to the ticket after Cormac Devlin won the selection convention on Monday night will not dampen either of their chances of winning a seat.

"I think it's important for any political party to run as strong a team as possible and that's why I was asked to run.

"The party did ask me to run and the experience I could bring in formulating the policy if elected to the Dail.

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