Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald is opposed to the Sinn Féin decision to run for seats in the Dáil until the IRA has ended its campaign of violence.

On the decision by Sinn Féin to end its policy of abstention which had meant that elected deputies would not take up their seats in the Dáil the Taoiseach said,

It is the first time in the history of the State that a party currently engaged in a murder campaign is seeking simultaneously representation in our parliament.

While acknowledging that Sinn Féin had the right to put themselves in front of the electorate, he also stated that he had the right to democratically oppose them.

On Section 31 the Taoiseach said that the public broadcasting service would not be made available to people who condoned violence and supported a campaign of murder.

At the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis held on 1 November 1986 the party agreed to end its abstentionist policy by 429 votes in favour to 161 votes against. The vote caused a split in the party with Ruairí Ó Brádaigh leading a walk-out.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 November 1986. The reporter is Charlie Bird.