Martin slaps down own justice spokesman to reject claims he'll do deal with Sinn Féin
Fine Gael has once again warned of a future coalition deal between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin - despite Micheál Martin categorically ruling out such a prospect.
The Fianna Fáil leader yesterday slapped down his own justice spokesperson, Jim O'Callaghan, who at the weekend appeared to leave the door open to the prospect of a confidence and supply arrangement between the two parties.
Mr Martin said such an arrangement was not on the table, citing Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams's recent remarks about the murder of Louth farmer Tom Oliver.
"The murder of Tom Oliver, I don't see in a political context. Nobody could credibly suggest the murder of Tom Oliver was part of some political conflict. Let's get real here," Mr Martin told RTÉ's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' programme.
"Here was an innocent man, father of seven, murdered. In 2017, Gerry Adams is saying the murderers should not be pursued, should not be prosecuted."
But last night, Fine Gael TD for Galway West/South Mayo Hildegarde Naughton rejected Mr Martin's claims.
"Once again, Micheál Martin was left having to reject the idea of governance with Sinn Féin again.
"This is a constant trend since the summer recess with an ever-increasing number of Fianna Fáil party members willing to go into business with Sinn Féin," Ms Naughton said.
"Every time a Fianna Fáil TD flirts with the idea of a Sinn Féin coalition, Mr Martin has to hammer them back into place. How many more times will he have to do so? Any government comprising Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin together, either in a coalition or in a confidence and supply agreement, would spell disaster for the country."
Speaking yesterday at the Sinn Féin pre-Budget launch, Mr Adams criticised Mr Martin.
He said the Fianna Fáil leader believed that he had a "divine right" to be in government.
Sinn Féin's alternative budget would add €5 to dole payments, but just €4.50 to the old age pension.
The party has argued Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe could raise an extra €2bn through a range of measures including the abolition of the 9pc Vat rate for hotels and a third income tax band for workers earning above €100,000.
At the same time, Mr Adams is also proposing to abolish the Local Property Tax at a cost of €445m, while reintroducing the second home tax in order to bring in €105m.