President Higgins 'could call joint session to break political deadlock'

President Higgins 'could call joint session to break political deadlock'

Update (3.11pm): President Michael D Higgins may intervene if talks to form a new Government remain in stalemate, Irish Examiner Political Editor Daniel McConnell has said.

“Michael D Higgins, as President, has the prerogative to call a joint session of the Oireachtas and come down and basically lecture the two big boys, in terms of Enda and Micheál, to get their backsides into a room and talk together and form a Government,” he said.

“Would they really want to suffer that embarrassment? I don’t think so.”

Earlier: Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says that they are committed to helping to form a Government that can last.

Teams from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are meeting today to discuss arrangements to support a minority government.

Both parties are also meeting Independents as they make a last-minute attempt to woo them ahead of Thursday's vote for a Taoiseach.

A deal between the two parties will be needed to form a stable government.

Mr Martin says that he is committed to achieving that, however he would not reveal exactly what is being negotiated today.

He said: "I will not go into details, I don't think that's the kind of thing we don't need actually, obviously the media has its role.

"In terms of politics, there comes a time too when, in terms of the conduct of negoatioations of this kind, then ample space and room is given to the participants so that substantive progress can be made and bring about what people in the country desire - the formation of a government that can last."

President Higgins 'could call joint session to break political deadlock'

Policy issues, including water charges, are expected to be discussed.

Independent Alliance spokesperson Shane Ross says his group have not decided who to vote for yet.

Mr Ross said: "Whoever gives us what we think is the most sensible and radical and stable deal, we will go for and we will vote for whatever party produces that.

"We don’t have an agenda or preference at this stage. What we do want to see first of all, is that it is recpirocal when the Dáil votes for one leader or the other, that they support the other one.

"We also want to see a two-and-a-half year period, that's three budgets, that's really important."

Independent Alliance TD John Halligan says he thinks that other Independent TDs are leaning towards supporting Fianna Fáil.

President Higgins 'could call joint session to break political deadlock'

Mr Halligan said: "Micheál Martin has upped the anti considerably and I think that if you wanted me to call it, two weeks ago I would have said that you would have got most of the Independents going to Fine Gael.

"I don’t think that is going to be the case now. I think a lot will depend on Micheál Martin over the next couple of days."

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