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Sinn Féin and Coalition in Dublin

Listen to What Gerry Adams actually said on RTE:The Week in Politics (from 2 minutes in to 6 minutes in) Click below   24/04/2015

RTE NEWS:Sinn Féin open to talking to FG and FF – Adams

http://www.rte.ie/news/2016/0424/783870-government-talks/
Paddy Healy 25/05/2016

The “buts” and the omissions are the most important

He did not say that there are no circumstances in which SF would enter coalition with FF or FG
He said “it is MY view that it would not be in the national interest to return FF or FG to government BUT there are these crises in people’s lives…”

Aine Lalor was mistaken when she said “your last Ard Fheis ruled out coalition with FF or FG” It didn’t. It ruled out a coalition in which FF or FG would be the MAJORITY PARTY. Gerry Adams did not correct the interviewer’s statement

I have been saying since the election that we should wait until after the assembly elections (Thursday week) to discover the full SF position—-Paddy Healy

 

Extract from interview with Gerry Adams on “The Week in Politics” 24/04/2016

“Would we talk to them(FF and Fine Gael)? The answer to that question is ‘yes’,”

“If in the course of all of that, although it would be very, very challenging, we came up with a Programme for Government which did the business as far as we were concerned, our leadership would consider that and yes, if we thought that was an advance and would help to deal with these issues we have just talked about, including in the centenary year the issue of Irish unity, of course we would have to bring that back to an ard fheis.”

From An Phoblacht

Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil can phone Sinn Féin but republicans won’t prop them up in power

  • Louise O’Reilly TD – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael need to spell out positions on Irish Water

»JOHN HEDGES

AN PHOBLACHT EDITOR  25/04/2016

IF ENDA KENNY or Mícheál Martin want to talk to Sinn Féin then they know how to pick up the telephone but Sinn Féin has no mandate to prop up a conservative administration led by Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, Louise O’Reilly TD insisted at the Dáil today.

The newly-elected Fingal deputy also said that both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael need to state very clearly where each of them stands on water charges as rumours abound.

“What we need to hear are unequivocal statements from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on what they intend to do about charges and Irish Water. People need to know.”

A commission to examine a charging regime reportedly being discussed by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is not what people voted for when Fianna Fáil promised in its election manifesto to scrap water charges, she said. She added that the majority of TDs were elected on the basis of opposition to water charges.

A commission should follow the abolition of Irish Water and water charges to establish the best way to safeguard this utility in public ownership under control of the state and provide a safe and efficient delivery system to people, the Sinn Féin TD said.

She accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of engaging in a “phoney war” over Irish Water in a bid to show they have differences between them when in fact there are very few.

Louise O’Reilly rejected claims that Sinn Féin has been “sitting on its hands” while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil wrangle over power.

“We have been actively participating on Dáil reform, we’re the party that has been leading on the issue of homelessness and forced the establishment of an all-party committee, we’re all at work in the Dáil and our constituencies – we haven’t been sitting on our hands.”

 

Louise O’Reilly denies ‘cover’ by Sinn Féin

0

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
Irish Examiner Political Reporter

Sinn Féin has denied claims that it would consider setting up a minority government with Fianna Fáil is a bid to create “cover” for the organisation amid criticism it has done nothing to help end Ireland’s political stalemate.

Newly elected TD Louise O’Reilly strongly rejected the suggestion in her party’s daily media briefing yesterday, saying Sinn Féin has not been “sitting on our hands” for eight weeks and that the only reason it has not taken part in talks is because it has yet to be asked.

Speaking after the party’s ard fheis on Sunday, Mr Adams said he is open to speaking with Fianna Fáil about a programme for government.

Mr Adams’s remarks, which were heavily qualified when he said any deal with Fianna Fáil would be based on Sinn Féin policy and would have to “do the business as far as we are concerned”, have been widely seen as an attempt by the opposition party to stay relevant and deflect criticism that it has done nothing to end the post-election political stalemate.

However, speaking to reporters yesterday, backbench TD Louise O Reilly said the offer, which has not been taken up by Fianna Fáil, is genuine and not an attempt to give her own party political cover.

“We haven’t been sitting on our hands for the last few weeks,” she said.

“We’ve been actively participating in the committee on Dáil reform, on homelessness, we’re all doing constituency work, so we haven’t actually been sitting on our hands. So there’s no cover required.”

Asked why Sinn Féin is open to forming a government now, Ms O’Reilly said her party has always been available to speak to larger parties. That is despite the fact it passed a motion at its 2015 ard fheis to enter talks only if it was the larger party.

Ms O’Reilly said ‘protocol’ of government formation means it is up to Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil to contact Sinn Féin, but that no contact has been made.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

From Paddy Healy  26/04/2016

NOTE That Louise O’Reilly(TD) SF said above:

“Sinn Féin has no mandate to prop up a conservative administration led by Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, Louise O’Reilly TD insisted at the Dáil today.”

If Sinn Fein has no mandate now it could get one from a special Ard-Fheis! Louise did not say “will not”

Does this staement contradict the Adams interview:

Gerry Adams

“Would we talk to them(FF and Fine Gael)? The answer to that question is ‘yes’,”—–

“If in the course of all of that, although it would be very, very challenging, we came up with a Programme for Government which did the business as far as we were concerned, our leadership would consider that and yes, if we thought that was an advance and would help to deal with these issues we have just talked about, including in the centenary year the issue of Irish unity, of course we would have to bring that back to an ard fheis.”

Louise O’Reilly did not say that there are no circumstances in which Sinn Fein will join a coalition government with FF or FG.

Entering Coalition on an agreed programme with FF or FG might not be considered by SF to be the same as “propping up a conservative government”

 

——————————————————————————————————————-

August 2015

Since I wrote the piece below almost a year ago, Sinn Féin has decided not to go into a coalition government in Dublin unless it is the lead party. This means that it is prepared to go into a coalition with FF or FG provided these parties are in a minority within government. While this is a step forward from the previous position, it is a highly dangerous position for the Irish people as I argue below and in my separate piece on this blog: The Composition of the Next Government

Just because FF or FG are minorities in a Dublin Government does not mean that SF and the left would be able to determine government policy or, in general, “call the shots”. 

 The minority capitalist party would have the full backing of  Irish, European, and American capitalism and their agencies-EU, IMF etc. and the framework of the Fiscal Treaty to legally enforce their will.

FF or FG would paralyse the government and bring it down at a time of their choosing.

The grovelling position of the Labour party in the current coalition is no guide to the behaviour of a capitalist party in a left led coalition

I believe that Sinn Féin should adopt a position of no coalition in principle with FF or FG and the left groups who hold the same position should enter the next election in a progressive alliance with Sinn Féin on that basis.

September  2014

Some years ago, Gerry Adams said that if SF had entered a joint executive with Unionists at Stormont, it would have no difficulty in principle with being in coalition with any party in Dublin.
Since the recent elections, Sinn Féin leaders (Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald, Pearse Doherty) in several interviews have failed to rule out coalition with FF and/or FG in response to direct questions. They have said that abolition of the property tax is a red line issue or precondition for entering a coalition government. In response to further questions they have refused to set out any other red line issue including abolition of water charges, rejection of the Fiscal Treaty, or any particular initiative in relation to Irish Unity
The strongest position taken in public is that of Cllr Eoin Ó Broin who says that Sinn Féin should not enter a coalition in which Sinn Féin was in a minority. Some spokespeople have also said that Sinn Féin would prefer to be in a Sinn Féin-Labour-Left coalition.
The Dublin government is bound by the EU Fiscal Treaty. In the Dáil Caoimhín Ó Caolain on behalf of Sinn Féin has described this as an austerity treaty which flies in the face of the 1916 proclamation in that it is the negation of Irish sovereignty.

Whether Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael are the majority or minority party in a coalition, each party will insist on implementing this Treaty.
Why has Sinn Féin not made rejection of this Treaty a red line issue for participation in coalition?

THE Adams statement which inferred that if SF had entered a joint executive with Unionists at Stormont, it would have no difficulty in principle with being in coalition with any party in Dublin is seriously wrong and misleading. It may lead supporters to believe that since participation in the Stormont Executive has done no electoral damage to Sinn Féin support in the six counties, that participation in a coalition government in Dublin would not necessarily damage Sinn Fein support in the south.

The two situations are entirely different.
The northern executive is merely a mechanism for regional administration within the United Kingdom. It is not and it does not purport to be a sovereign government. It is a fact that the majority of northern nationalists have continued to support Sinn Féin as it participates in this body. Indeed Sinn Féin has ousted SDLP as the leading party in Derry in the recent elections.It is my view that northern nationalists see this continued participation as a guarantee against the return of institutionalised discrimination in the allocation of houses, other public services and to lower status in society generally.
The Dublin parliament is a totally different matter.

Despite severe de facto limitations on its actual powers, it is technically a sovereign parliament and is viewed as such and expected to act as such by the population.
There is no threat of a return to domination by a Unionist caste as in the north.
I believe that participation by Sinn Féin in a government in Dublin which did not deliver significant economic gains to the majority of the population and did not make serious progress in enhancing Irish unity and sovereignty would lead to a collapse in electoral support for Sinn Féin. The party would follow the downward road travelled by Clann na Poblachta, The Workers Party and the Labour Party. If Sinn Féin participated in a government which implemented austerity in accordance with the Fiscal Treaty, it would be wiped out.
Ireland is facing a major historical turning point. The decision of Sinn Féin on coalition in Dublin will be central to the outcome.

I believe that the depth of the historical turning point which Ireland is facing in the next two years is being underestimated . Things cannot go on in the old way because the people of the 26 counties will not tolerate increasing austerity for much longer. They have only voted against austerity. The main cohorts have not yet fought through strikes, demonstations etc but this is on the way as it is now becoming widely understood that restraint will not work. The outcome of the recent elections has accelerated this process. I believe that political crisis will be the most intense since the civil war.
I believe that the notion that Sinn Féin will be able to “play a long game” in opposition while retaining coherence is mistaken. Sinn Féin, in its membership and support, contains a number of political components. At one pole are the revolutionary republicans and at the other are the capitulationist pro-capitalists and there are all shades in between, many simply confused.
It is well to recall that all capitulators claim to be “playing a long game”. Collins said we should settle for a “stepping stone” to Irish Freedom . Brendan Corish said he was fighting for socialism “eventually”. McBride said he had first to remove Fianna Fáil patronage in giving out roadwork and to secure the declaration of a 26-county republic.
After the next election, I believe that the 26 county capitalists will not initially allow a Fine Gael- Fianna Fail coalition. This would leave them with no fall- back position as the more populist FF would be wiped out. This will leave no possibility of a government being formed without Sinn Féin. The problem is likely to be addressed in the context of a significant degree of popular mobilisation on economic issues. The class pressures on the political components of Sinn Féin will be massive as they were in the civil war period of 1921 to 1923.
There will be an intense discussion within Sinn Féin. The issue will not be one of tactical stupidity or cleverness. It is the duty of those of us who understand the positive role that revolutionary republicanism can play in the Irish socialist revolution to do what we can to ensure that the revolutionary republicans are victorious. That is why a serious discussion must take place now so that people cannot be fooled.
Simply denouncing Sinn fein in its entirety as some left wing groups do is counter-productive.
ClannNa Poblachta leader Mac Bride told the small farmer and cottier supporters of Clann Na Poblachta that he had to go into coalition with Fine Gael to break the Fianna Fail ganger system of allocating work on the roads. Collins said the Treaty would give us the freedom to win freedom. We must be ready for the “new fangled” excuses. The need to save “the peace process” and to prevent a return to one party unionist administration in the north is likely to be invoked. But there are always unexpected excuses in politics.

Let us do something positive to protect against capitulation. Let us ask Sinn Féin to publicly commit against coalition with Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael and to give an undertaking not to implement the Fiscal Treaty which sets aside Irish sovereignty and imposes continued austerity.
The electorate is entitled to know BEFORE the election
If Sinn Féin made such a commitment it would create a new position which would have to be considered by left wing organisations.

What is important is to positively effect what happens in the FUTURE.
Discussion of previous or current mistakes is important in order to learn from them. There are very many genuine people in Sinn Féin andin left wing groups.
There is wide agreement on the left that entry of Sinn Féin or left TDs into coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael would be disastrous for the Irish People.

There are also several “left” TDs who have not ruled out coalition with FF and/or Fine Gael.

I believe that we should focus in the discussion on getting a public undertaking in advance from Sinn Féin and left wing TDs that they will not go into coalition with FF and/or FG after the next election and that they will under no circumstances implement the Fiscal Treaty which flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation

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