Ahern predicts Social Democrats will be coalition kingmakers
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has predicted that Fine Gael and the Labour Party will be able to form the next government with the help of the Social Democrats and possibly a small number of Independent TDs.
Mr Ahern believes that working with Independents to shore up a government majority is not as difficult as some political analysts suggest.
Asked if he believes Taoiseach Enda Kenny will turn to Independents for help in forming the next government, Mr Ahern replied: "The Social Democrats will have four or five, possible more, sensible, sane people who know the system.
"I think what they seem to be saying in their speeches is not difficult for the Government to deal with."
Mr Ahern was speaking on the new independent.ie podcast 'The Frontbench', where he will be joined each week by former Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte and former Fine Gael justice minister Nora Owen to discuss the election campaign.
Mr Ahern also said that after a week of controversy, Tipperary TD Michael Lowry's campaign team were likely to have been "all down drinking champagne the other night and saying 'God if we can keep this going for another week, we won't have to knock on doors'".
Mr Rabbitte argued that while a lot of people might not like the current Coalition, they "may well hold their nose and vote for the Government because the situation we're in was hard earned and they won't want to put it at risk".
He added: "The present brand of independents in there at the moment, for the most part, talk about exotic creatures flapping and grand-standing and attracting attention."
Ms Owen told Irish Independent Editor Fionnán Sheahan that it has been difficult to listen to Mr Kenny dodge the question of a deal with Mr Lowry - but ultimately she understands why he "may be better off to keep his powder dry about any of the Independents".