Sinn Féin open to coalition talks with all political parties
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has significantly softened his view on forming a coalition with other parties as the countdown to the general election begins.
In a remarkable change of policy, Mr Adams yesterday said his party was open to talking to all political parties about forming a government once the ballots have been counted.
Asked which parties he is open to forming a government with, Mr Adams said: "Whoever at the end of the election process has a mandate to form a government and if we can agree a programme for government which reflects our mandate and core values".
His comments are in stark contrast to previous commitments from Sinn Féin, which ruled out going into a coalition with any of the other parties unless Sinn Féin was the majority party.
The move is likely to cause concern among Sinn Féin's core support, many of whom are adamantly opposed to propping up Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Both parties, along with the Labour Party and Lucinda Creighton's Renua, have publicly ruled out going into government with Sinn Féin.
Mr Adams said "anything can happen" during the election and warned against speculation as the election has yet to take place.
"Sinn Féin could fall flat on our face, Fine Gael could be wiped out.
"Let's wait until the people have their say, let's have the good manners to allow them to exercise their franchise and then let's see who comes out at the end of it and work out the best for Ireland and the best for the people."
He also said Sinn Féin would not end up like the Labour Party and that he was not Eamon Gilmore when asked his intentions to become Taoiseach.
"I am not Eamon Gilmore. Sinn Féin is not the Labour Party," he said.
"We are not going to go flying about saying Gerry Adams for Taoiseach or any of that nonsense."
He also denied meeting with murdered former Provisional IRA member Kevin McGuigan weeks before he was gunned down in Belfast.
The murder is believed to be retaliation for that of Gerard 'Jock' Davison.
The 'Sunday World' last weekend reported Mr McGuigan met with Mr Adams in his constituency office in Louth, after rumours circulated in the North that Mr McGuigan was responsible for Mr Davison's murder.
Mr Adams insisted this was "totally untrue" and said he would be seeking legal advice.