Fianna Fáil have this evening thrown down the gauntlet to Independents giving them one last opportunity to vote for Micheál Martin as Taoiseach, writes Irish Examiner Political Editor Daniel McConnell .
Senior Fianna Fáil sources have told the Irish Examiner that tomorrow's vote will be the last opportunity for them to vote for Mr Martin as Taoiseach and to support a Fianna Fáil-led minority government.
The sources have said that should the Independents not do so, the party will concede and begin talks to facilitate a Fine Gael minority Government, headed by Enda Kenny.
Fianna Fáil had felt that many of the Independents were more likely to vote for Mr Martin than Mr Kenny.
They said Fine Gael had said they had six independents willing to support them and they called on those people to declare their intentions.
They had told Fine Gael had they done so, they would have bowed out.
But, no declarations emerged and hence the party felt the need to stop going around in circles and force their hands.
The high risk move by Mr Martin follows a series of intensive engagements by Fianna Fáil with Independent TDs.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, one source said it was time for Independents to call Fine Gael's bluff. The source also said it was unreasonable that Fine Gael would not support a Fianna Fáil-led minority government.
Talks between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on government formation have ended for the night.
A Fine Gael source said the party's negotiators were "frustrated and disappointed" at what they said was the unwillingness of Fianna Fáil to engage on policy matters.