It's Sinn Féin who will decide

That was the reaction of Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin when asked about which party we would be seeking to enter coalition with after the election.

"If the circumstances are right, if we have the numbers, if the configuration opens up the opportunity, if whatever other party or parties are interested in being involved with Sinn Féin, that their specific programme - what they're prepared to do - meets our requirements and our demands, it will be Sinn Féin who will make that decision and Sinn Féin alone."

The party have always said that it is not a case of

"Will Fianna Fáil go into government with Sinn Féin?" or "Will Fine Gael/Blue Shirts go into government with Sinn Féin"

The real question is will Sinn Féin go into government with either of these parties?

Sinn Féin are not about power at all costs or power for the sake of it. We will only be entering government if we can be sure that it will advance our political objectives.

The fact that most commentators and political pundits still fail to realise that should shock me but it doesn't.

They are so used to dealing with political parties that would sell their granny for a fiver! Parties whose elected reps are only concerned about their own advancement up the greasy pole to ministerial office.

Sinn Féin elected reps only receive the average industrial wage, the rest of their salary goes into the party.

My own preferred choice would be for Sinn Féin to stay out of government at this stage. If we hold the balance of power then we should seek to support a minority government which delivers on our shopping list.

I would no more relish government with Bertie than I would government McDowell!

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