Pop quiz: Who said this, on January 23rd?
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said his party will not form a “grand coalition” with Fine Gael after the general election.
Mr Martin said his party was only interested in creating a new government with other “centre” parties such as Labour and the Greens.
Asked if he would consider a confidence and supply agreement, similar to how his party supported the Fine Gael-led minority Government over the last four years, Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil was not interested in such an arrangement.
Sorry, my bad. The first line kind of gave it away.
Anyway, we’ll try again. Who said this, to the Irish Independent’s Niamh Horan on February 2nd?
Would you go into a grand coalition with Fine Gael?
Did you get it yet?
One more go. Who said this, in an interview with Matt Cooper on January 29th when asked if he would consider Government with Fine Gael?
“Look Matt, the people are telling us very clearly they want a change of Government”
If you haven’t gotten it by now, here’s the answer: The leader of Fianna Fáil, the man who would be Taoiseach.
There are lots of ways to rationalise the fact that Micheál Martin lied to the Irish people, repeatedly, during the election campaign. There are even some excuses for it that can, and will, be made. But none of those things change the facts:
Micheál Martin lied to you, time, and time again, during the election campaign.
He repeatedly told voters to vote for his party because they would remove Fine Gael from power, and yet he has been working assiduously for the past few weeks to put Fine Gael back into power with the votes of TDs elected on a promise to do the opposite.
When you look at Irish politics, and you hear people saying, all the time “we need to restore trust in the political system”, you might wonder “why do people not trust it to begin with”.
It’s important, in elections, that voters are informed. That, when we cast our ballots, we know what we are voting for.
In the election, the Fianna Fáil message was clear: Vote for us if you do not want either a Fine Gael, or a Sinn Fein Government, because we will coalesce with neither party.
After the election, that has totally changed. Why?
Because Micheál Martin wants to be Taoiseach.
And he doesn’t mind lying to get there.
That might be an uncomfortable fact for Fianna Fáil supporters. But uncomfortable facts are still facts.