Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein coalition deniers may change tune in wake of ballot

John Downing

As with the aftermath of most of these political guff sessions, nothing very much has changed.

But Sinn Fein has got itself off that rock of claiming it must be the biggest party in any potential coalition in Dublin or nothing will happen.

It has garnished all of that with rhetoric that it would never be in any coalition government which did not have a "republican ethos".

Remind us again, we hear you urge.

Well, the Sinn Fein heavy-hitters oblige by telling us that it means any government it engages with in the Republic must be serious about tackling the housing and health crises.

Can you imagine any form of coalition which would not speak to those issues?

We stress the words "speak to" here.

We're not talking about delivery, which is far harder and more complex than framing a coalition government programme.

There are many model deals involving diverse groups over the past 40 years.

The 1989-1992 Fianna Fail-Progressive Democrat coalition fused two groups of sworn political enemies.

The 1992-94 Fianna Fail Labour line-out appeared to break new political ground.

The 1994-97 Rainbow Coalition joined two previously immiscible liquids, Fine Gael and the Democratic Left.

In 2007-2011, Fianna Fail leaned heavily and briefly into matters environmental in a coalition with the Green Party.

And then the global economy fell asunder, with disaster for Ireland.

The simple point here is that it cannot be too complex to borrow from all of these coalition deals and pitch them forward to the current basket of key issues.

You are entitled to believe the various coalition denials from all parties - for now.

After the next election, as Sinn Fein people might say, we face sceal eile (another story).

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