TWO prominent Fianna Fáil politicians have ruled out going into coalition with Sinn Fein in a move that will heap pressure on party leader Micheal Martin.
Limerick TD Niall Collins described Sinn Fein as a "cult", adding that he believes the party's policies would "destroy" the economy.
"The cases of (abuse victims) Mairia Cahill and Paudie McGahon illustrate that Sinn Fein is not fit to govern," Mr Collins told independent.ie.
Serious concern about the prospect of entering coalition with Sinn Fein was also expressed by Fianna Fáil's Environment spokesperson Barry Cowen.
"Of course I, like many others, would have serious reservations," Mr Cowen added.
It emerged today that several of the party's front bench spokespeople believe a Fianna Fáil/Sinn Fein coalition is on the cards - if Gerry Adams was not Sinn Fein leader.
The Louth TD has to date given no indication of plans to step down as speculation surrounds the leadership intentions of Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty.
But the move today by Mr Collins and Mr Cowen will heap pressure on Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin to completely rule out the prospect of entering coalition with Sinn Fein.
The speculation surrounding such a coalition led to claims to that Fianna Fáil would "consider anything to regain power".
Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris said:
“A vote for Fianna Fáil at the next General Election could be a vote for Sinn Féin. This is becoming clear today with a group of Fianna Fáil TDs saying they will happily go into coalition with Sinn Féin. The mask has slipped and we now know that Fianna Fáil would consider anything to regain power, including putting Gerry Adams’ party into Government.”
The Wicklow TD added:
“This really is the nuclear option for the electorate as Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin would throw away our hard won economic recovery given half the chance. These two parties would actually be well suited to each other but disastrous for the Irish people. Both parties pursue the irresponsible high tax, high spend policies that destroyed our economy so recently and condemned so many families to such terrible hardship.”