Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 5/31/2009 1:43 PM EDT

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny's quick move to disavow any chance of Sinn Fein working in government with Fine Gael after the next election is a major mistake.
Kenny made his comments after party election chief Frank Flannery refused to rule out a Fine Gael/Sinn Fein coalition in a newspaper interview
It smacks of hypocrisy ---there are members of the Labor Party who he would certainly enter into government who have IRA pasts -- step forward Prionsias De Rossa, favorite to win a seat in the European parliament and a former senior member of the Official IRA.
In Northern Ireland no less a political figure than Ian Paisley decided to trust in Sinn Fein and went into government with them.
If it is good enough for Ian Paisley it is surely good enough for Enda Kenny.
Sinn Fein have long since come in from the cold and the idea that they cannot be trusted in government is false in the extreme. It is an opinion peddled by the remnants of the anti-peace process crowd who were only happy when Sinn Fein was being demonized and mischaracterized.
Those people belong on the ash heap of history and Enda Kenny might join them if he persists in the face of the lessons of Irish history.
The Irish state is dominated by figures like Eamon De Valera and Sean Lemass who were militant IRA supporters in their early lives and later turned to politics.
Present-day Sinn Fein is no exception. The party has absolutely no interest in going back to violence and have played a huge role in securing the peace that Ireland now enjoys.
It is passing strange to see Fianna Fail jump on Fine Gael after the statement was made by Flannery. They above all, are a party utterly devoid of principle when it comes to gaining power -- which is the way successful parties thrive.
They went into coalition with Dessie O'Malley's Progressive Democrats party despite the fact that O'Malley had almost split Fianna Fail apart after forging ahead with his own party and deserting Fianna Fail.
Fine Gael need to develop the same ruthless streak. There are no strange bedfellows in Irish politics any more, just coalition partners you have never met. Fine Gael need to learn that message.