LABOUR leader Eamon Gilmore has rebuffed Gerry Adams's call for a broad-left alliance aimed at excluding Fine Gael and Fianna Fail from the next government.
Mr Gilmore – in common with the Sinn Fein leader – did not rule out any future coalition options. But he was scathing in his response to Sinn Fein's proposal.
"I think Sinn Fein has a long way to go before anybody can consider them part of a government.
"Their economic policies, if you can call them policies at all, are a bit of a fairytale.
"And I think there are some legacy issues that Sinn Fein have to address, such as what happened to Jean McConville and to the disappeared," the Labour leader said.
The Sinn Fein president, newly re-elected to the party leadership he has held continuously since 1983, avoided ruling out any coalition options after the next election which is expected in 2016.
He made his appeal for unity among all left-wing parties during his Ard Fheis speech on Saturday night.
While Mr Adams delivered scathing criticisms of Labour along with Fine Gael in government, party officials insisted that they still include Labour in their left unity call.
"The conservatives, the right-wingers, consistently unite around their issues. Those of us who have a different vision – a progressive, rights-based vision, must do the same," the Sinn Finn leader told delegates.
Mr Adams yesterday said Ireland had moved beyond the long-standing 'two-and-a-half party system' with Labour alternately supporting Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in government.
He argued that Fianna Fail would not return to the central place it had held and his party would continue to grow.
But in various interviews following his party's two-day Ard Fheis in Wexford, he insisted that Sinn Fein was not interested in going into a coalition government merely for the sake of being in power.
Mr Adams repeated his assertion that his party would not make elections promises it cannot keep – and would keep any promises it made.
He again criticised Labour for making promises in the February 2011 General Election campaign which the party knew it could not keep.
Speaking on RTE's 'The Week In Politics' programme, Mr Adams avoided a direct question about controversial comments that RUC officers, Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan, had been "laissez faire" about their own security.
But, under pressure, he conceded that his choice of words was "unfortunate".