Gerry Adams leaves door open to coalition with Labour in the Republic of Ireland
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has refused to rule out entering coalition with the Labour Party - one week after repeatedly leaving the door open to future negotiations with Fianna Fáil.
Mr Adams adopted a far more reserved approach when asked about future coalition partners, describing such a conversation topic as "idle speculation".
The Louth TD's decision last Tuesday to leave open the idea to striking a deal with Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin caused unease within Sinn Féin.
In a subsequent interview with the Sunday Independent, Mr Martin completely rejected the idea of such a coalition, partly because of Mr Adams's alleged links to the IRA.
Mr Adams has repeatedly denied that he was a member of the terror group.
But the issue of Sinn Féin's potential coalition partners was raised again on Tuesday during Mr Adams's weekly media opportunity on the plinth of Leinster House.
Asked about whether he should now re-evaluate his stance on Fianna Fáil following last night's 'Primetime Investigates' programme into standards in public office, Mr Adams replied:
"I don't want to restate that to you again. You're fishing with a long line that will ensnarl you at some of these points," he said in a remark that prompted laughter among some his parliamentary party.
It was then put to that Mr Adams, that despite Mr Martin's claims about the IRA, he is still not ruling out the prospect of a Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin coalition.
He replied simply: "And?"
But when asked about the idea of entering government with Labour, Mr Adams said any such decision would have to be taken by the party's Árd Fheis.
"Our position on this is very clear. First of all, it is idle speculation to discuss who may or not be in government after the election when the people haven't voted. Our Árd Fheis made it clear that Sinn Fein would not do what the Labour Party has done in terms of Fine Gael, or indeed arguably with Fianna Fail so that's clear, let's get the biggest mandate possible for Sinn Fein. That in itself will have an influence on the mandates of the other parties," Mr Adams said.
"And then well all of that is over, if we have a mandate to be in Government, and if we agree a programme for government with other parties, then our Árd Fheis will take a decision on that," he added.
Belfast Telegraph Digital