Wednesday 13 December 2017

Fine Gael talks with Independents end without agreement dashing Enda Kenny's hopes of being re-elected Taoiseach tomorrow

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny

Nial O'Connor

The prospect of Enda Kenny being re-elected Taoiseach on Thursday has suffered a setback after talks at Government Buildings ended without a deal.

Several sources from all sides of the talks said a deal is in sight - but insisted there are a number of issues still to be agreed.

After hours of talks, Independent TDs have sought over 100 amendments to a defacto programme for government,  according to a number of figures involved in the process.

Mr Kenny indicated in the Dail on Wednesday morning that a deal was imminent. Immediately, those involved in the talks said the Fine Gael leader's pronouncement was premature.

It is now possible Mr Kenny will be elected Taoiseach on Friday, with Fianna Fáil opting to abstain.

But the prospect of a Tuesday vote is also on the table.

Talks between Fine Gael negotiators and Independent TDs lasted over 10 hours and covered issues such as hospitals, wind turbines and post offices.

But talks suffered a setback when a number of Independent TDs present said they disagreed with being involved in talks that went into the early hours.

A senior Fine Gael negotiator said "huge progress" has been made.

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