Tanaiste rules out entering government with Fianna Fáil: 'They crashed the economy'
Tánaiste Joan Burton has strictly ruled out entering any form of government with Fianna Fáil after the general election - insisting they are the party which "crashed the economy."
She also claimed Fianna Fáil have "lost heart" for the fight to try and get back into power.
Her comments to Independent.ie come as speculation intensifies as to the formation of the next government.
The Tánaiste said Micheál Martin and his Dáil Deputies need at least another term in opposition "in order to regroup".
"Fianna Fail's difficulty is very simple; they are the party which crashed the economy," she said.
"I don't know whether they were asleep at the wheel when it happened.
"But they were responsible for the disastrous crash which resulted in 330,000 people losing their jobs.
"This in turn placed a huge burden on our public finances.”
However, while the polls suggest a Fine Gael-led government is the most likely outcome post the election, there is also speculation an alternative "rainbow" arrangement just might be able to make up the numbers to get into power.
This would inevitably include Fianna Fáil, but the support of Labour TDs would also be crucial, if the grouping was to achieve a Dáil majority.
"I don't at this point in time - judging by the statements made by Fianna Fáil members - believe their heart is in it to go into government.
"I think, as a number of their spokespeople have said from time to time, they would like another spell in opposition.
"That would allow them to regroup - and reconsider their policies for the country.”
When pressed if she has categorically ruled out a coalition government which involved Fianna Fáil, Ms Burton replied: "Absolutely. We're looking forward to renewing the mandate of this government.
"We inherited a difficult situation, but I think we have the experience which will allow us manage the recovery now in progress."
"Yesterday, we had the lowest unemployment rate for seven years, at 8.8pc.
"I'm going to be asking, as leader of the Labour Party, for a mandate to continue that work in conjunction and in partnership with Fine Gael."
She was speaking at the announcement by Accent Solutions that it is to create 100 new jobs over the next two years.
The Dublin-based company will employ 133 people by the end of this month, and its workforce is expected to reach 230 by the end of next year.
It specialises in providing a range of engineering and other services to data centres, as well as to the manufacturing, and public sectors.
Established in 2012, it has recently been successful in landing a number of important new contracts.
Ms Burton said this jobs announcement is yet another example of Ireland's economic turnaround taking hold.