Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has vowed he would resign his membership of Fine Gael rather than go into coalition with Sinn Féin.
The Fine Gael leader has nailed his colours to the mast in the strongest way yet on the Sinn Féin coalition issue by saying, not only would he not lead Fine Gael into coalition with Sinn Féin, but that he would resign completely from the party if the unholy union ever came about.
Mr Varadkar was asked by veteran broadcaster Séan O’Rourke in RTE’s Two Tribes documentary about the possibility of coalition with the main Opposition rivals.
READ MORE: Ireland snow forecast as Met Eireann issues White Christmas verdict
He said: “I’d be totally against it, could not lead my party into a coalition with Sinn Féin.”
Mr Varadkar added when pressed: “I would resign as a member.”
When it was put to Mr Varadkar that Fine Gael also had a violent revolutionary past, extending back as far as Michael Collins during the War of Independence, the Fine Gael chief argued their armed response was different.
He said: “He didn’t send out people to blow up chip shops, he didn’t blow up buses and he didn’t blow up shopping centres.”
Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, also features on the programme where she said that the growing attacks from Fine Gael were coming at a time Sinn Féin continued to grow.
She said that it was because they were becoming a bigger threat to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Ms McDonald said: “As our support has grown and theirs has diminished, their anxiety to cast us in a poor light also increases and that’s the cut and thrust of politics.”
And former Fianna Fáil leader and three time Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, will also speak on the programme about the rise of Sinn Féin.
He said: “I think you have to give Sinn Féin some acknowledgement to the fact that they have changed large proportions of their policies into the mainstream.
“The more Sinn Féin comes into mainstream, I think the more support they will get from a lot of people.”
Current Fianna Fáil Senator, Lisa Chambers, will open the door even wider in her contribution to the programme on Thursday night.
She will say: “A lot of our members can very clearly remember the Troubles and I think would be quite upset actually at the prospect of that.
“But, I suppose from my own perspective, being honest about it, I don’t think it’s something that we can ultimately rule out.”
The two episodes of Two Tribes air on RTE One on Wednesday, December 21 and Thursday, December 22 and will be available on the RTE Player after that.
An accompanying 11-part podcast series is available wherever you get your podcasts.
Woman's Westlife concert experience was 'constant reminder' of disability
Taoiseach Varadkar under fire for 'out of touch' video of first day in office
Woman left blind and unable to speak after fire at Dublin hostel
The Budget 2023 measures that will put more money in your pocket from January
Phil Hogan says Taoiseach and Tánaiste had 'campaign' to oust him after Golfgate
Get breaking news to your inbox by signing up to our newsletter