Kenny makes 'partnership' offer to FF in bid for new government

Micheal Martin (Pic: Mark Condren)

Kevin Doyle, Cormac McQuinn and Barry Lennon

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has offered Fianna Fail the opportunity to take part in a so-called 'partnership' government following a dramatic day at Leinster House.

The proposal was made after an hour-long meeting between Mr Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin - after neither was elected Taoiseach during a Dail vote.

Exact details of the formal offer have to be teased out, but it is understood it will include an equal split of Cabinet positions, and while there was no mention of a rotating Taoiseach at the meeting, it is also an option.

Significantly, Mr Kenny said that he wants as many as possible of the Independent TDs who have been involved in talks over the past fortnight to be part of the deal. A Fine Gael spokesman said Mr Kenny made an offer "for the purpose of forming a sustainable five-year government".

Afterwards a Fianna Fail spokesman said: "At the meeting this evening between the Leaders of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, Enda Kenny confirmed that he believes a Fine Gael minority-led government or a Fianna Fail-led minority government would not work and that a full partnership of Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Independents would be his preferred option.

"There was an hour-long talk and Micheal Martin will discuss this and other options with his parliamentary party."

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will hold meetings of their parlimentary parties today to discuss the latest developments before Mr Kenny and Mr Martin meet again.


But Fianna Fail is likely to reject the offer because members feel it is a coalition by another name.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment intends to place an order for four million polling cards in the coming weeks.

Officials have advertised online for the cards which are sent to every registered voter in the country informing them of the date, time and place at which they are entitled to vote should an election be called.

A spokesman for the Department told Herald they are taking a "best to be prepared" attitude as the situation remains in a "state of flux".

The Dail is due to sit again next Thursday - but both parties say it is still unclear whether they will be in a position to elect a Taoiseach at that stage.