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Wheeling and dealing before Dáil convenes

March 8, 2016

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By Evan Short

Fianna Fáil have held discussions with the six newly elected Independent Alliance TDs ahead of Thursday’s convening of the 32nd Dáil.

Last week, the Independent Alliance, which comprises of Shane Ross, Finian McGrath, Kevin “Boxer” Moran, John Halligan, Seán Canney and Michael Fitzmaurice, met with Fine Gael.

Fine Gael has also held talks with Independents Michael and Danny Healy-Rae while reports today have outgoing finance minister, Michael Noonan, pointing to the possibility of some sort of deal with Fianna Fáil.

On Thursday, the Dáil will vote on a taoiseach. However, because of the way the TD numbers and affiliations break down it is not expected that one will be elected.

What could emerge is a caretaker government led by a caretaker taoiseach, an arrangement that is not codified in the constitution but has occurred before as a result of cooperation between the main parties.
Such a situation would be unlikely to last for more than a few weeks or months.

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Speaking ahead of the meeting with Fianna Fáil, Independent Alliance’s Finian McGrath TD said: “We’re interested in implementing the charter for change.

“The ten core issues in our charter are the issues. And then we’ll talk to people, whoever can deliver the numbers, on specifics of the proposals.

“Then we’ll decide, the Independent Alliance will decide, which way we’re going and how we’ll vote for taoiseach.”

Speaking in Brussels, where he is attending a meeting of EU leaders, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would continue working towards forming a government.

“There is a process going on at the moment in terms of discussing with Independents and groupings and so on like that in order to see what situation might arise from this,” he said.

“I am prepared obviously in my capacity as taoiseach to work for the formation of a government that the country deserves and that the people need.”

Democratic Socialist TD, Róisín Shortall, has said it would not be possible to put together a government without both of the main parties.

However, the former Labour cabinet minister said her party won’t be backing any of the party leaders for taoiseach this Thursday.

Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar has said he believes it is possible to put together a stable government that did not involve both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Newly elected Sinn Féin TD for Waterford, David Cullinane, has hit out at the two main parties, saying they cannot both decide who is in government, and who is in opposition.

“For the first time in the history of the state we have two parties with the same political outlook and policies, with the numbers to do a deal, but who are both so worried about who will be left in opposition that they are hesitating to go into government together,” he said.

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