Despite the rumours all parties will keep their options open till after the next election

So here, Micheal Martin had an interview in the Irish Sun last week. Caused a bit of a stir on Boards.ie and Politics.ie. As it might.

Nothing stirs online chatter than future combinations of government parties (particularly at a time when the government seem to be getting some half decent press).

Interestingly it’s not the one I’ve heard most about, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, which FFers themselves dismiss as cover by country FG TDs under pressure from rekindling of the FF flame in their constituency back yards.

Rather it’s about speculation around Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail going into power together. My suspicion falls upon similar sources.

Certainly, it’s clear from this conversation with Senator David Cullinane who makes it clear SF is not planning to go into government with anyone as a junior party:

Then again neither is Micheal Martin contemplating that proposition either. In fact he clearly reckons there is still a few votes in hitting the Shinners. Though in this case it seems someone’s given him the premise:

he launched a scathing attack on Sinn Fein, accusing members of the party of harassing him during a Siptu march in his native Cork in support of home helps.

Actions and behaviour emanating from members of that party I would have concerns about,” he said, when singling out pickets on offices of TDs.

“I think that’s wrong… they are in parliament and they can make their points of view there.

“Not all members of Sinn Fein, but a certain element engage in intimidation for political points — they did that in the North with the SDLP. There are attempting to do that down here.

As Cormac Lucey notes: “speculation mounts that the party might eventually enter government with Sinn Féin. Not if we believe recent comments from party leader Micheál Martin. [emphasis added]”

One iron rule of Irish coalition politics is never rule anything out completely. You never know when you’ll have to do a sudden backtrack. Another is, in government (like a merger in business) it is eat, or be eaten.