Stable government crucial for recovery - Flanagan
Irish people risk "sleep-walking their way into a Dáil made up of many Independents", which would be unable to provide stable government for continued economic recovery, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has warned.
Mr Flanagan also criticised leading Independent TD Shane Ross for saying he would not wish to serve in government as part of a new Independent grouping after the next election.
"I don't believe it is in anybody's interest to vote for someone who has indicated he won't serve in government," Mr Flanagan said, confirming that this was a reference to Mr Ross.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said he believed many voters who are telling pollsters they will back Independents or parties such as Sinn Féin, will return to back Fine Gael and Labour at the general election due in spring 2016.
He said he very much appreciated how much people have suffered from unemployment and falling incomes over the past seven years.
"I do feel locally, at constituency level, that what the Government is doing in terms of economic recovery and job creation is filtering down to local communities and voters are beginning to feel it," Mr Flanagan told the Irish Independent.
Mr Flanagan said the Taoiseach had firmly ruled out any coalition with Sinn Féin and he also insisted that "Fianna Fáil cannot be forgiven for driving the economy over the cliff".
But he notably did not personally rule out any potential coalition after the next election, saying it was ultimately for the people to decide.
"The Taoiseach has made it clear that we absolutely will not go into government with Sinn Féin and I share that view completely," he said.