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Micheál Martin does not rule out going into government with Sinn Féin after next election

The Taoiseach said ‘policy’ will guide his party’s alignments in next election

Eoghan MoloneyIndependent.ie

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has refused to rule out the prospect of going into government with Sinn Féin after the next General Election.

Mr Martin on Sunday said that Fianna Fáil’s “door is always open” to working with parties whose policies align with their own, but conceded this was not the case with Sinn Féin in recent years.

He refused to rule out the possibility of a Fianna Fáil-Sinn Féin coalition, as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has done with regard to Fine Gael.

Mr Martin hinted the prospect of a SF-FF coalition was unlikely but would not rule it out categorically.

"It’s policy first, in relation to Sinn Féin, as far as I can see in the past two and a half years, their policies don’t align with ours at all, particularly on the enterprise front. They’re anti-enterprise, as far as I can see, deep down,” Mr Martin said on RTÉ Radio’s This Week programme.

He said that “while everybody was getting excited about Sinn Féin in the polls, nothing is guaranteed”.

Mr Martin said that polls “have never been a predictor of elections in the past 25 years, ordinarily, they’ve not been a predictor – we found this out to our own cost after the last General Election”.

The return of a ban on tenant evictions was also not ruled out by Mr Martin but he said it was easier to do “legally” during the Covid-19 emergency, and that the government can’t “knowingly break the law” by triggering a ban on tenant evictions without the legal precedent to do so.

Mr Martin disputed the claim that government would miss social housing targets this year, which are 10,000 new social housing units. He said government will build over 8,000 new units and “through acquisition” will meet the 10,000 figure.

"The State is doing everything it possibly can,” Mr Martin claimed.

An Taoiseach said “the State does not the luxury” for politicians and citizens to be objecting to new housing projects in their constituencies at the rate that it is occurring. He called on all politicians, including within his own party who have recently lodged objections, to “count to 10” before objecting to new housing projects.

"The younger generation need housing at a much faster rate than we are delivering. We’re not providing fast enough to the younger generation.

"Politicians need to count to 10 before they start objecting,” Mr Martin said.

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