Saturday 1 October 2016

Independent TD 'very disappointed' at FF-FG behaviour

Cormac McQuinn and Niall O'Connor

Published 14/04/2016 | 07:00

Negotiations: The rural Independent deputies, from left, Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Denis Naughten, Dr Michael Harty and Michael Collins arriving at Government Buildings for talks with the acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Fine Gael negotiators on the formation of a new government. Photo: Tom Burke
Negotiations: The rural Independent deputies, from left, Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Denis Naughten, Dr Michael Harty and Michael Collins arriving at Government Buildings for talks with the acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Fine Gael negotiators on the formation of a new government. Photo: Tom Burke

'Rural Five' TD Dr Michael Harty has said he believes the group should vote against both Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin, saying he is "very disappointed" at how the main parties are behaving.

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He was speaking after it emerged that Independent TDs were warned by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that today's vote for Taoiseach will be the last opportunity they have to vote for him, and talks between his party and Fine Gael stalled.

Clare deputy Dr Harty said both parties need to "grow up" and he suggested that the President may now have to intervene to resolve the impasse.

Meanwhile, Kerry deputy Michael Healy-Rae said Independents were facing into a sleepless night ahead of today's Dáil vote on Taoiseach.

He was among those contacted by the Fianna Fáil leader, though the Kerry TD didn't say what they discussed. He said Independents are being asked to vote for a Taoiseach without knowing how a minority government will work.

"Any politician that's really into this thing won't sleep tonight because you can't. There are only so many hours before (the vote tomorrow). This is a game-changer in that we're being asked to make up our minds in the absence of information that we were expecting to be provided with," Mr Healy-Rae said.

Prior to Mr Martin's intervention, a series of Independent TDs spoke out, demanding more details on how a minority government will work before committing to support either leader. Danny Healy-Rae said: "I'll be voting the same way as I voted last week. I voted against the two of them. They have shown nothing to me as to why I should change my mind." He said both parties needed to make a renewed effort to engage with Independents and "do a lot of listening" before he would reconsider.

Dublin Central TD Maureen O'Sullivan said she intends to abstain from today's votes because the parties have yet to provide details on how a minority government will work.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath didn't rule out voting for either party leader but also said he wants to hear more from both parties.

"Sure if they want votes to come back to them, they're not going to get them out of thin air," he said.

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran of the Independent Alliance (IA) was yesterday involved in finalising policy documents for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

He said that the group will not be deciding how they will vote until this morning but they are awaiting further communication with the two parties. "Until they come back to us, we won't be making any decision."

Separately, TD John Halligan, another member of the Independent Alliance, walked out of talks with both parties over the lack of 24-hour cardiac care at University Hospital Waterford.

He said he would remain a member of the group, however.

Irish Independent

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