Taoiseach says there will be no constituency deals on offer in talks
TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has warned smaller parties and Independents that the decisions taken by the next government won't be popular and they can expect "endless effort", "constant criticism" and "disappointment" if they join a coalition.
He also put them on notice that constituency deals and other incentives won't be on offer in government formation talks.
Mr Varadkar said talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will continue but a third party and possibly Independent TDs will be needed to for a majority administration.
He said that so far it hasn't been possible to get another party involved but he added: "perhaps it will become possible".
At least 80 seats are required for a Dáil majority.
Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil - who have 72 seats between them - have ruled out talks with Sinn Féin.
The Green Party has bowed out of talks insisting it want's a temporary National Unity Government to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
The Social Democrats have said they won't go into a government that involves both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and Labour has said it plans to stay in opposition though this could change under a new leader.
Mr Varadkar was asked if Labour is being targeted as a potential coalition partner.
He said: "certainly, my party is willing to talk to the Labour Party to the Green Party, Social Democrats and Independents about participation in government."
Mr Varadkar said any government that's formed needs to have a functioning and working majority in the Dáil.
"The kinds of decisions that are going to be taken in the next couple of months and in the next couple of years to get the country going again, aren't going to be easy.
"They're not going to be popular. We're not going to be offering people incentives or concessions or pork for constituencies to come on board.
"All we're offering people here willing to join a government is endless effort, constant criticism, disappointment," he said.
Moves to form a government are expected to pick up amid concern that no new legislation can be passed after next week's Seanad election.
That's because Mr Varadkar or his successor as Taoiseach won't be able to allocate the 11 seats prior to a new government being formed. He said today: "There are conflicting legal opinions on whether or not the Seanad can legislate without the Taoiseach's 11 nominees.
"As things stand any legislation we need we believe we'll have through by the weekend.
"But of course, there's a possibility that at some stage over the next few weeks, we may find that we need additional legislation and at the very least that legislation would be open to challenge if it goes through a Seanad that doesn't have the 11 Taoiseach's nominees."