FF rebel in talks - 'by chance'
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny had a lengthy discussion with rebel Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness about the formation of the next government, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The conversation is understood to be the first time Mr Kenny has spoken in detail about the future of the country with a member of Fianna Fail.
The meeting, which sources said "happened by chance" on the street outside Leinster House on Wednesday night, was not sanctioned by either party.
However, onlookers said the rival politicians spoke at length about the recent General Election and the possibility of forming a stable government.
A source said Mr McGuinness encountered Mr Kenny and former Fine Gael TD Tom Barry near Merrion Square in Dublin City Centre.
Around 10 minutes after Mr McGuinness arrived, Mr Barry parted company with them, leaving the rival politicians to speak for a significant length of time.
"Clearly they were discussing the future of Irish politics and the outcome of the General Election," a source said.
Mr McGuinness has made no secret of his belief that Fianna Fail should enter into a coalition with Fine Gael.
However, his view is not shared by sections of his party who fear leaving Sinn Fein as the lead opposition party.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin is among those against entering into a coalition with Fine Gael.
Mr Kenny has yet to state publicly his preferred option but Fine Gael insiders believe he is leaning towards a 'grand coalition' with his party's civil war rivals.
Contacted by the Sunday Independent, Mr McGuinness and Mr Barry refused to comment on what both insisted was a private conversation.
A spokesman for Mr Kenny said the Fine Gael leader "talks to everybody".