Sinn Fein contacts Fianna Fail leader seeking meeting about forming a government

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has written to Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin as party talks continue on 13 February to form a government.

The Fianna Fail parliamentary party will meet later but Martin has repeatedly ruled out going into coalition with Sinn Fein.

McDonald is due to address the media later on 13 February.

Fianna Fail won the most seats with 38, but Sinn Fein won 37 seats and the highest proportion of first preference votes following the general election on 8 February.

General Election Ireland 2020
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin celebrates after being elected for the Cork South-Central constituency (Yui Mok/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on 12 February he expects to be the leader of the opposition in the next Irish parliament  – which would mean Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein are the most likely coalition partners.

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Varadkar said “anything is possible” in the coming weeks including a second election, but added it would “not be good for the country”.

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said on 13 February that McDonald had contacted Martin.

He said in a statement: “Sinn Fein is looking to establish a government for change. Now we wish to meet with Fianna Fail, and later on with Fine Gael. The first step of that process is for our leader Mary Lou McDonald to meet with the leader of Fianna Fail, Micheal Martin.”

McDonald is to address Sinn Fein’s new TDs in Dublin on 13 February and will meet with the Social Democrats later about the possibility of government formation.

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