Where do the parties currently stand on coalition talks?
While Micheál Martin made first contact with Enda Kenny, it was the acting Taoiseach who put the offer of a face-to-face meeting on the table. The party has put in long hours courting Indpendents this week and will hope that it hasn’t all been in vain on Wednesday when the vote for Taosieach takes place. They will be sorely disappointed if Mr Kenny doesn’t pick up some votes. Finance minister Michael Noonan set to weigh in on the discussions between Fine Gael and Independents today when subject matter will include USC and the economy.
(Denis Naughton, Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins, Dr Michael Harty)
Prior to the contact between Mr Kenny and Mr Martin, Deputy Naughton said independents are frustrated because they feel the country is “hurtling towards another general election” with the two big parties not talking. Now he says the two leaders should use the weekend for detailed discussions. Deputy Harty has said that Independents don’t want to become involved in a minority government with no stability and Deputy McGrath said he thinks the vote for a Taoiseach should be postponed.
Party leader Micheál Martin called acting Taosieach Enda Kenny five weeks after the election but it wasn’t the only call his party made yesterday. Fianna Fáil has widened the field of Independents it’s seeking to talk to making contact with Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and Catherine Connolly who so far haven’t been involved in talks with either main party. Negotiations with the rest of the Independents resume early next week. With fewer Dáil seats Mr Martin has a bigger mountain to climb than Enda Kenny but there is a sense of momentum surrounding the Fianna Fail leader.
Michael and Danny Healy Rae, Katherine Zappone, Maureen O’Sullivan. The Healy-Rae brothers have been in talks with both main parties. The more experienced TD , Michael Healy-Rae has predicted this week that - while the people “did not vote for another election” – the country could be back at the polls on May 20. Before Mr Kenny and Mr Martin made contact, Deputy Zappone said her patience “almost ran out” at the lack fo talks between the two main parties. Maureen O’Sullivan said that Mr Kenny’s party has been “very receptive” ideas from Independents.
Shane Ross, John Halligan, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Seán Canney, Michael Fitzmaurice, Finian McGrath. The group will resume talks with Fine Gael today. Seán Canney expressed relief that Mr Kenny and Mr Martin have made contact with each other. Deputy Halligan said yesterday that he is no closer to giving his vote to Enda Kenny saying the negotiations with more than a dozen Indepedents have been “very complex”. Shane Ross predicted that there will be a government formed. He said he didn’t know which party would lead it”.
Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin withdrew from government formation talks with Mr Ryan saying that he didn’t believe Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil would be able to form a stable government. He said his party will go into “constructive” opposition where they will promote their own legislation and support a government “whenever possible”.