Tuesday 20 March 2018

Fine Gael power-sharing talks with TDs to 'intensify today'

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Leo Varadkar. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Barry Lennon

Health Minister Leo Varadkar believes Fine Gael power-sharing talks will 'intensify' today.

He also said talks are not being 'dragged out' after an Independent Alliance deputy called negotiations 'a waste of time'.

Mr Varadkar, this morning, said “of course, it will take time” to form a government after the remarks of Waterford TD John Halligan.

The Fine Gael Minister instead described the talks as having a 'good start' last week and expected them to 'intensify today'.

“A decision was made on Thursday to continue talks on Friday but we decided against it,” he said.

Mr Varadkar insisted that neither the parties or Independent deputies wanted another election after almost a month without a government in place.

However, he pointed to the two General Elections in 1982.

“Those elections didn't happen because somebody didn't want them to happen. That's why it's important to get this right.”

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae hit out at TDs "not engaging" in government-forming talks, calling them “hurlers on the ditch.”

“A lot of deputies are not coming forward. We don't want to name anybody but they all know who they are. There's about 40 of them. Where are they?,” he said.

“What I say is, if God Almighty came down this minute to run the Dail and form a Government they'd be the very people that come forward and say he wasn't doing a good job.”

His brother Michael added he was 'still very disappointed' Fianna Fail and Fine Gael “haven't sat down and talked this far out from the Election.”

“Are we being used as leverage? We don't like being used in that way,” he said.

Fine Gael's Simon Harris said talking to Fianna Fail was 'dependent on the progress' made today in talks, adding “we want talk to those we want to form government with first.”

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