Labour leader Brendan Howlin told RTÉ’s Bryan Dobson that Labour would not go into Government with Sinn Féin.
It followed reports that he said he would be “happy to sit down” with Sinn Féin and discuss working in government as part of an alliance of left-wing parties on Monday night.
Mr Howlin and Mr Dobson had this exchange:
Brendan Howlin: “From the Labour Party’s perspective, I’ve made it clear, we’ve real difficulties with Sinn Féin. Fundamental issues of trust and governments can’t be formed unless you have trust.
“So I was asked would we sit down with ehh…”
Bryan Dobson: “So what’s the answer to the question. Will you go into Government with Sinn Féin or not?”
Howlin: “I, I…I would not see the Labour Party being involved in any arrangement with Sinn Féin but if people want to, if they want to talk to us after the election, I said that we’d sit down, as a sort of a trade union official, and talk to everyone.”
Dobson: “But to no purpose, because you wouldn’t go into Government with them?”
Howlin: “Well it depends, I think…”
Dobson: “I mean, are you trying to have it both ways?”
Howlin: “No, no, no…absolutely not.”
Dobson: “Sounds like you are.”
Howlin: “Well there you are. I think that it’s very clear. I’ve made it crystal clear right now.”
Dobson: “I’m still not clear: would you go into Government with them or not?”
Howlin: “I said, from the Labour Party’s perspective, I would not. I don’t see any situation where that would arise.”
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