Taoiseach Micheál Martin has not ruled out forming a coalition government with Sinn Féin after the next Irish general election.
However, the Fianna Fáil leader has accused Sinn Féin of being in a “destructive opposition mode."
Recent opinion polls have shown Sinn Féin to be the most popular political party in the Republic. The last general election took place in February 2020 and none need be held for five years after that date. However, general elections can be called at any time by a sitting government and are mandatory if a budget financial resolution is voted down in the Dáil.
Mr. Martin said: “We will contest the election in our own right as a political party with our own policies and ideas and after that general election, we will consider, first of all, where we are in terms of our own seats and numbers of seats, and where others are.
“My sense of Sinn Féin at the moment is that it’s in a very destructive, resolute opposition mode, opposing everything that moves literally, politically.
“The level and range of what they’re promising is in the billions at this stage, and doesn’t, frankly, add up. A lot of their policies don’t add up, their housing policies don’t add up.”
Martin added: “The other aspects of it that worries me a bit is their international, European policy. I think at heart, they’re still an anti-European Union party.
“I was struck in the Dáil, in the debate leading into the European Council, for example, they were absolutely silent on the massive Russian military build-up in the Ukraine. I found that extraordinary,.
“I’ve noticed this for the last number of years. Sinn Féin will never criticize Russia, always remain silent.”
In the February 2020 general election Sinn Féin won the most votes and returned with 37 TDs, one behind Fianna Fáil on 38, while Fine Gael won 35 seats. It was not until June before a government was formed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens. Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar is due to serve as Taoiseach from December 2022. That would be his second stint in the office.