Former SDLP Director of Communications Ruairí O'Kane has outlined the possibility of the party withdrawing from politics in Northern Ireland to allow Fianna Fáil run possible election candidates there. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said while he does not think the SDLP is ready to leave the stage, he believes that the party's leader, Colum Eastwood, realises to have a future and influence it might not be able to do it on its own anymore.

"I think this conversation around Fianna Fáil has always bubbled on in the background," Mr O'Kane said.

He said he thinks Mr Eastwood is aware of certain issues for the party and what "he is probably doing is giving an honest reflection".

Mr O'Kane said said these factors include "the electoral performances of recent years that went in the wrong direction" and the "wider political context of Brexit and the dynamic shift within Northern nationalism".

He said he does not think the SDLP leader would be happy that this information is coming out a couple of days before his party's conference this weekend.

"He has indicated any conversation will be led by him," he said.

Mr O'Kane added that the party is ultimately aware of what it is up against and there is a realisation that "realignment has moved from a possibility to a probability and now to an inevitability".