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Ireland's Greens refuse to rule out grand coalition to block Sinn Fein

IRISH Green Party officials remained tight-lipped yesterday over rumours of a possible “grand coalition” with the two main centre-right parties to keep Sinn Fein out of government.

Meetings took place between party leaders in a bid to form a coalition after Sinn Fein topped the polls in Saturday’s seismic general election.

Party president Mary Lou McDonald hailed a “revolution in the ballot box” and insisted that Ireland’s electorate had voted to put her party, which only stood 42 candidates, into government.

Sinn Fein negotiators met the leaders of the smaller parties, including People Before Profit and the Social Democrats, as the leftwingers tried to secure the necessary support to govern.

But the Greens, who propped up a right-wing Fianna Fail austerity government between 2007 and 2011, refused to rule out a so-called “grand coalition” with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

In a statement, the party confirmed that talks had been held with the leaders of Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

“All meetings were positive and there has been a willingness amongst the other leaders to engage with the Green Party and the increased mandate of the party,” it said.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin stepped down as the Star went to press, citing his party’s poor electoral performance after it won just six seats.

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