Sinn Fein amends ard fheis motion that may have blocked coalition bid
Sinn Fein chiefs have amended a motion that will be put to its membership at an ard fheis this weekend in a bid to keep its coalition options open after a general election in the Republic.
A Dublin-based branch of the party has tabled a motion for debate that would limit Mary Lou McDonald's engagement with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
It said that while Sinn Fein could talk to any party, its "only objective will be to form a broad left-wing government comprising parties and independents of a similar political ideology".
As Sinn Fein adopts motions from its ard fheis as policy, this would have effectively banned the leadership from entering government with either Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar or Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin. However, party bosses contacted the cumman in Templeogue seeking agreement to make the motion more ambiguous.
It will now say that Sinn Fein "should attempt" to form a left-wing coalition, rather than having this as the party's "only objective".
The party's Pearse Doherty confirmed the change, saying it wants to meet with all independents and parties after an election "to see whether we could deliver a programme for government that deal with the big crises".
The leadership of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have both categorically ruled out working with Sinn Fein.
Mr Doherty said its aim was to be the biggest political party.
"Obviously the bigger the mandate we have, the more influence we would have in those negotiations," he said.
Party members will also debate whether Sinn Fein should contest a presidential election later this year.
A motion calls on the ard chomhairle to "positively consider" putting a candidate forward regardless of whether Michael D Higgins seeks re-election or not.