Saturday 1 October 2016

Martin: It's Kenny's job to reach out to Fianna Fáil

Published 30/03/2016 | 12:25

Micheal Martin and Enda Kenny
Micheal Martin and Enda Kenny

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has suggested it is Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny's responsibility to make the first approach on government talks.

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Mr Martin has come under serious pressure to contact Fine Gael as frustrations grow over the ongoing political impasse.

In a meeting with Independent deputies in Leinster House, Mr Martin was told that the continued standoff between the two parties must come to an end.

Asked by Independent TD Michael Healy Rae as to why the parties have not spoken, Mr Martin suggested that it is Fine Gael's job to contact him or his colleagues.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have begun separate meetings with Independent TDs as the talks aimed at forming a Government enter a critical stage.

An early morning meeting hosted by Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny broke up before midday to allow a number of Independent deputies to meet the Fianna Fáil negotiation team.

In a blow to Mr Kenny, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan confirmed that he and his party colleague Catherine Martin will not be entering government with Fine Gael.

The pair will meet Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin this evening and may decide to support either of the main parties from Opposition.

Fine Gael sources say it is crucial to keep as many of the Independents on board as the party bids to agree a substantial policy document that could provide a springboard for devising a Programme for Government.

Fianna Fáil sources, however, will today attempt to cast doubt in the minds of Independents about returning Fine Gael to power.

“We will ask them a very simple question: Do you want change,” a party source told independent.ie today.

However, it now appears inevitable that both parties will have to engage in the coming days, possibly even before the vote for Taoiseach next Wednesday.

Speaking on RTÉ’s ‘Morning Ireland’, Acting Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said there was a “way to go” in relation to the talks.

The Dublin Bay North TD said he anticipates both parties will speak to each other - but ruled out supporting a minority Fianna Fáil government.

Separately today, Labour Party leader Joan Burton will address a meeting of the party’s election candidates in Dublin.

Frank exchanges are expected at the meeting in relation to the party’s disastrous election result.

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