Friday 24 January 2020

'Win the support of eight Independents before we facilitate minority' - Micheál Martin tells Enda Kenny

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny

Philip Ryan and Niall O’Connor

Micheál Martin is to tell Enda Kenny he must win the support of at least eight Independents as precondition for Fianna Fáil “facilitating” a Fine Gael lead minority government.

At a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting tonight, Mr Martin was also told by his members to “put nothing in writing” if he reaches agreement with Mr Kenny.

However, central to any agreement between the two parties will be an onus on Mr Kenny to secure the support of at least eight Independents.

This will bring Fine Gael and Independents combined support to 58 TDs and will allow Fianna Fáil abstain from certain votes if a deal is reached on forming a minority government.

The move comes after Mr Martin abandoned plans to lead the next government after failing to win the support of any Independent TDs during today’s vote for Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny currently has 52 seats including Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Katherine Zappone, who pledged support today.

Fianna Fáil TDs have also insisted that budget measures are discussed well in advance of budget day.

In a statement tonight, a Fianna Fáil spokesperson said: “Tonight’s meeting of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party agreed that its negotiating team will reconvene talks with Fine Gael with a view to facilitating the establishment of a Fine Gael led minority Government.”

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