Monday 19 March 2018

Government talks - Bizarre spat erupts as Martin and Kenny argue over who called first

Party leaders Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin
Party leaders Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A ROW has already broken out between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil over the opening of a channel of communication between Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin.

It emerged today that the two leaders finally spoke about the ongoing political impasse - five weeks after a General Election.

But there have been claims and counter claims over which political leader seized the initiative and tried to open formal negotiations.

The events unfolded this morning when Mr Martin phoned Mr Kenny on his personal mobile, having failed to reach him through the Office of An Taoiseach.

The pair spoke for several minutes but sources say there was no agreement about opening formal negotiations.

After the call ended, Mr Kenny "on reflection" phoned Mr Martin back in order to set a meeting tomorrow afternoon on government formation.

Mr Martin did not answer the call - prompting Mr Kenny to put the offer in a text message.

Fine Gael sources say there was no reply to the text - and Mr Martin later went out onto the plinth and told the media his intentions to win Wednesday's vote.

The same sources have accused Mr Martin of “playing games” after he told the media that he was the person who instigated the communication with Mr Kenny.

Fianna Fail sources have hit back and labelled the criticism as “nonsense”.

The bizarre spat between the two parties comes as discussions continue in Government Buildings today.

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