Tuesday 27 June 2017

Independents warn FG as frustration grows at stalemate

Denis Naughten:
Denis Naughten: "We are waiting on the two big boys to step up and reach their agreement. Once they do that, we are prepared to roll out on sleeves and get on with it.” Photo: Tom Burke

Cormac McQuinn and Niall O'Connor

Independent TDs have warned Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil their support for a minority government is by no means guaranteed.

Several deputies last night insisted it may take several more days of negotiations before they can agree to support Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

Both the Independent Alliance and the so-called 'Rural Five' held separate meetings yesterday ahead of expected talks with Fine Gael this weekend.

But there is growing unrest among the Independent deputies over the slow pace of the talks between the two main parties, as well as the lack of contact with senior Fine Gael figures in recent days.

"Do they think we are monkeys waiting by the phone for their call? We are getting unsettled," one deputy said.

Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice warned against a presumption Independents will come on board once a deal is done between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

"They're presuming Independents will just swallow whatever they come up with," he said.

Mr Fitzmaurice said that for him there are still outstanding issues on rural Ireland and agriculture and that his group has yet to decide if it will back Enda Kenny.

Demands

Galway East TD Séan Canney said he and his colleagues will not sign up unless a series of demands are met.

"We have to be happy," he said.

Mr Canney, also a member of the Independent Alliance, said he is "open-minded" about supporting Mr Kenny for Taoiseach.

But he said he is reserving his position until he sees what sort of proposals arise out of the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil talks.

Members of the 'Rural Five' said they are "in the dark" in relation to the events of the coming days.

Clare TD Dr Michael Harty, however, said he expects the two parties to publish a framework in the coming days in relation to how a minority government would work.

Roscommon TD Denis Naughten said: "We are waiting on the two big boys to step up and reach their agreement. Once they do that, we are prepared to roll out on sleeves and get on with it."

'Rural Five' member Michael Collins said he hasn't heard from Fine Gael in recent days.

He said his group met yesterday morning and "we await the outcome of discussions, as we have stated from the very beginning".

Irish Independent

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