Sinn Fein contacts Fianna Fail leader seeking meeting about government formation

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

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

Ms McDonald is due to address the media later on Thursday morning.

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

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 Wednesday 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.

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

You voted for us because we need to build houses, cut rents, restore the pension age to 65, take on the insurance companies ripping you off and work for Irish unity. That's why I have begun talking with other parties about creating a government for change.

— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) February 12, 2020

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said on Thursday that Ms McDonald had contacted Mr 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.”

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

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