FF leader won't rule out working with Lowry after the next election
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has refused to rule out working with independent TD Michael Lowry after the next election.
Mr Martin has been critical of the minority Government's reliance on the Tipperary deputy in Dáil votes.
Mr Lowry says he has an "understanding" with Fine Gael and he often votes with the Government. But the Taoiseach has denied there is any formal agreement with the former Fine Gael minister.
Mr Lowry and his refrigeration company Garuda Ltd were fined a combined €25,000 for tax offences following a trial last year.
Mr Lowry was also the subject of adverse findings by the Moriarty Tribunal, which found that as communications minister, he assisted businessman Denis O'Brien in securing the State's second mobile phone licence in 1995. Both men reject the findings of the tribunal.
While Mr Martin said he did not envisage working with Mr Lowry, he declined repeated opportunities to categorically rule out working with him after the next election.
"We will seek to get the maximum number of seats possible, and if we want to go into government, it will be policy. Just as our confidence and supply is founded on policy. It would be the same in terms of government. We're not going to go in with anybody just for the sake of going in with them," Mr Martin said.
"As far as I am concerned, our position right now is that we want to get the maximum number of seats. What we would prefer, to be honest, is to have a relationship with other parties, smaller parties, and since the local elections, I think the options are now wider than perhaps people might have thought.
"So that is our position, and whatever independent gets elected, I think there would have to be a policy platform governing it. But I am not going to go into individual cases, because there's quite a number there."
Pushed to rule out working with Mr Lowry, Mr Martin said: "I don't envisage it. There could be many independents and I am not going to single one out."