Unionists urged not to give Sinn Fein a 'character reference' ahead of election in Republic

​Unionists should think twice about providing Sinn Fein with a “character reference” ahead of the next general election in the Republic, according to Jim Allister.
TUV leader Jim Allister. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/PacemakerTUV leader Jim Allister. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
TUV leader Jim Allister. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

With 2024 a potential election year south of the border, the TUV leader said that although the Republic is a “foreign jurisdiction” over which unionists have no control, it would be helpful to Sinn Fein aspirations in Dublin if they were heading up a devolved government at Stormont.​

In an interview with the Press Association earlier this week, Irish deputy premier and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin didn’t rule out the possibility of forming a government with Sinn Fein in the future.

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Mr Allister said: "Unionists have no control over who will form the next government in the Republic. As it is a foreign jurisdiction that is as it should be. Unionists do, however, have a say in who forms the government in Northern Ireland.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal MartinFianna Fail leader Micheal Martin
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin

"If Sinn Fein being in government in Dublin will further their goal of an all-Ireland, being part of a Stormont executive is only going to further that objective all the more.

"With the [Northern Ireland] Protocol giving them the tools to build an all-Ireland economy it would be madness for unionists to accept an Uncle Tom role in a republican led government in Belfast.”

Mr Allister added: "It is incumbent upon all unionists at Stormont to reflect on what the consequences are of giving Sinn Fein a character reference they can wave in the faces of the southern electorate by going into government with republicans here."

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In his Press Association interview, Micheal Martin said a Fianna Fail coalition government with Sinn Fein would pose “huge difficulties” for his party.

Asked by reporters if he would accept the role of tanaiste by going into coalition as a minority partner with Sinn Fein, Mr Martin said: “Our aim is to go in and I’m elected as taoiseach”.

He said he did not accept that it was certain that Sinn Fein would be in the next government.

“The parties in opposition to Sinn Fein are on 40% minimum at any given poll, Sinn Fein are down at around 30 and suddenly you’re all jumping to the conclusion that it’ll be a Sinn Fein-led government? I don’t get that”.