Sunday 22 September 2019

Varadkar: SF 'still not fit for coalition'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has accused Sinn Féin of glorifying IRA violence and insisted Gerry Adams's departure as leader doesn't make the party any more acceptable as a future coalition partner.

He urged incoming Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald to "break with the past", particularly in what he said was the "celebration of violence" at "triumphalist" commemoration events.

He stressed the economic differences between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, adding: "I don't see how the relationship between the two parties will change."

His rejection of the prospect of a future coalition comes after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also ruled out going into government with Sinn Féin.

Mr Varadkar congratulated Ms McDonald and pointed out she will be only the third woman to lead an Irish political party. But he said: "It's not going to change the relationship between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin or make them any more acceptable as a coalition partner."

He said the parties' positions on the economy and Europe are "too different" and Sinn Féin had opposed "every single" policy that helped bring about Ireland's recovery. He said this indicates "they are not fit for office".

Mr Varadkar also said: "Sinn Féin is very much a party that's Nationalist... sometimes even sectarian."

He added: "I think it would be welcome if the new president of Sinn Féin was to bring about a clean break with the past, particularly the ongoing celebration of violence by Sinn Féin at commemorations."

He said such events "glorifies IRA violence" and makes it harder to build cross-community integration.

Irish Independent

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