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Mary Lou seeks sit-down meeting with Micheál as two leaders speak by phone for 15 minutes

Journal.ie logo Journal.ie 4 days ago Orla Dwyer
Mary Lou McDonald, Micheal Martin posing for the camera: Mary Lou McDonald and Micheaal Martin talked today. © Photojoiner RollingNews.ie Mary Lou McDonald and Micheaal Martin talked today.

PARTY LEADERS MARY Lou McDonald and Micheál Martin have had a phone call this afternoon, and McDonald will be writing to Martin “in the coming days”. 

The phone call between the Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin leaders this afternoon lasted for 15 minutes.

It follows after Micheál Martin rejected speaking with Sinn Féin abut forming a government after a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party yesterday. 

Gallery: All the Taoisigh since the foundation of Ireland (Photo Services)

“I told Micheál Martin that people who voted for Sinn Féin and those who voted more widely for change are angry that Fianna Fáil is denying them the respect of sitting down with the party that represents them,” McDonald said in a statement today.

Related: For all the election 2020 news, reaction and analysis, click HERE

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson said Martin “congratulated Sinn Fein on their election success, outlined and reiterated the reasons why Fianna Fáil were not going into coalition with Sinn Féin”.

The reasons given were economic, and about issues of the past and current structures, the spokesperson said. 

Sinn Fein Leader, Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media as the newest members of the Sinn Fein Parliamentary Party meet for the first time at Leinster House in Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Sinn Fein Leader, Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media as the newest members of the Sinn Fein Parliamentary Party meet for the first time at Leinster House in Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)

“No one grouping in the Dáil can force another grouping to form a government when there are such incompatible views on economic policy and other issues,” the spokesperson said. 

McDonald said she will write again to Martin in the coming days “to set out the substance” of Sinn Féin’s position. She has asked Martin to do the same. 

“Any meeting between us should be about building homes, giving workers and families a break, advancing Irish unity and delivering on the desire of the people for a new government for change,” McDonald said. 

Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin. (Photo by Donall Farmer/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin. (Photo by Donall Farmer/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Sinn Féin leader said earlier today that the refusals from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to govern with Sinn Féin are “quite disgraceful”. 

Sinn Féin won 24% of the popular vote on the polling day last Saturday. Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil said before 8 February that they would not go into government withthe party. 

Sinn Féin has 37 TDs – 15 more than they had when the Dáil was dissolved – leading to the two big parties being repeatedly questioned on whether they would reconsider working with Sinn Féin.

Fine Gael ministers – Varadkar included -  have repeatedly said that they would consider going into government with all parties but Sinn Féin. 

Last night, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that his party would not consider going into government with Sinn Féin. 

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