Mary Lou McDonald says still possible for Sinn Fein to lead next government

The Canary

Mary Lou McDonald has said it is still possible to have a Sinn Féin-led government despite the numbers making it difficult.

The Sinn Féin leader said talks will intensify with smaller parties this week in a bid to form a left-leaning government.

She said: “There is undoubtedly a solid block of TDs for change for a new government. I remain very determined that we deliver that government.

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“And I think that we need to knuckle down on the policy issues on housing, on the need to cut rents and freeze them, on the need to deliver a huge public housing programme, and on the need to resolve the issue around pensions and get it back to the age of 65.

“We are still very determined that an alternative, and a new government of change can be created. And we will intensify our efforts this week when we have conversations with other parties.”

“I am very clear that we have been elected in very large numbers to be in government, even to lead the next government. I’ve also said that the idea of seeing Fine Gael or Fianna Fail returned again for five years is unthinkable.

“We can speculate on many, many things but I think we can be clear that the outgoing government was deeply unpopular and failed people in many and profound ways, and that people voted for change.”

McDonald said there is little public appetite for another election but that Sinn Féin will fight one if required.

“I want to see a good, stable, strong government that can deliver on housing, on health, can deliver on the issues that matter to people. But if there is an election, I mean we’ll go and we’ll fight the election,” she said.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael has insisted it will only enter government as a last resort and is preparing to go into opposition.

The parliamentary party will meet on Monday afternoon, for the first time since the general election, to discuss the next steps in government formation.

Parliamentary party chairman Martin Heydon insisted that Fine Gael would only enter government with Fianna Fail as a “last resort”.

“Many people within the Fine Gael parliamentary party would be uneasy with the idea,” he told RTE radio.

He said Sinn Féin should try to form a coalition with other left parties, or that Fianna Fail should try to form one with the Green Party and the Social Democrats.

Heydon said there is no appetite among the general public for a second election this year.

He said: “It is pretty clear to me from anybody I’ve talked to that nobody in the general public would thank anybody in Dail Eireann for sending us back to a second election without a government being formed.”

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  • Show Comments
    1. Yes, and there may be a border poll before long and why not. Why shouldn’t the Irish people decide their own destiny, at last, after centuries of British domination, exploitation and racism (take a look at the despicable cartoons in the English press depicting the Irish as sub-human in the late 19th century).
      But did you notice the responses of Ms Nandy and Ms Long-Bailey to Sinn Fein’ success during the C4 debate? Nandy showed distinct nervousness and defensiveness about the idea that the breakthrough could herald a border poll. The decision lies with the Secretary of State, she asserted. True, but as Jonathan Powell pointed out on R4, any denial of a poll by the government if there was a legitimate demand for it in Ireland would lead to a legal challenge, and an international legal challenge as the Good Friday Agreement is international. As for R L-B all she could bring herself to say was that it would be an interesting few weeks until the dust settled. Are they socialists? Are they democrats? Every socialist in Britain should celebrate Sinn Fein’s victory. Of course, no one was accusing Mary Lou McDonald of anti-Semitism, but no doubt the B o D will get round to it. A propos, if there can be a border poll in Ire;land, why not in Palestine? Why not let all the people of Palestine, Jews, Muslims, Christians, atheists, flat-earthers vote on the question of a single, democratic Palestinian State? The Israelis claim to love democracy. What could they be afraid of? Ah, you can hear the Zionists wailing at the very thought: Palestine is ours; God gave it us. Everyone is allowed to change their mind, even a deity. And given the Zionists’ vile behaviour, who wouldn’t?

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