Government talks: Where Independents stand
Where various Independent TDs stand
‘Rural Five’ Independents
Who: Denis Naughten , Michael Collins, Mattie McGrath, Michael Harty and Noel Grealish
The five TDs from rural Ireland were the ones that kick-started the drawnout talks with Fine Gael over the past fortnight by suggesting Enda Kenny was ‘in the driving seat’ to win today’s Dáil vote. However, they have maintained that there will not be a new government until Mr Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin do a deal on how it would work. All five TDs were the only ones to abstain in bulk during the first vote - and despite all the talks will continue that ‘wait and see’ approach today.
Who: Shane Ross, Michael Fitzmaurice, John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Sean Canney
The Independent Alliance have held a series of discussions based around their ‘Charter for Change’ with both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. And their views on those talks have flip-flopped from ‘a waste of time’ to ‘very constructive’. Last night Shane Ross said they were “nowhere near getting any sort of a final solution” but progress was being made. As a result all six TDs are expected to abstain when asked to vote for Enda Kenny or Micheál Martin in the Dáil today.
Who: Kerry brothers Michael and Danny The pair will either abstain or vote against both the main candidates. While there has been much speculation regarding a split over which way to vote, this has since been dismissed. Crucial to the talks for Michael Healy Rae in particular is the Government’s response on post offices. He yesterday met with postmasters before warning that his support now hinges on the withdrawal of Department of Social Protection letters which sought to encourage welfare customers to switch to Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT).
Who: Independent TD for Dublin South West Katherine Zappone and Independent TD for Dublin Central Maureen O’Sullivan
Both deputies are expected to abstain during today’s votes for Mr Kenny and Mr Martin. Ms Zappone, however, will be encouraged by the commitment from Fine Gael to set up a citizen’s convention to examine the Eighth Amendment. She is believed to be leaning towards FG. Ms O’Sullivan has committed to remaining in the talks and has advocated several measures in the areas of education, housing and disability.