Kenny loses vote and appeals to Martin to begin talks

By Daniel McConnell, Irish Examiner Political Editor

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny has failed for the second time to be re-elected to that post in the Dáil today.

Mr Kenny was not expected to win the vote and he lost by 80 votes to 51.

Mr Kenny was supported only by Fine Gael TDs and Independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.

Speaking having lost the vote, Mr Kenny informed the Dáil that he intended to invite Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to have a conversation “this evening and I hope he will oblige”.

Mr Martin himself was defeated in the Dáil in his bid to become Taoiseach by 95 votes to 43, meaning he only got support of his own TDs.

The only other candidate, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger, received just 10 votes.

Mr Kenny said the discussions that are about to begin with Mr Martin will be aimed at forming a Government.

Responding to Mr Kenny, Mr Martin outlined his party’s focus heading into the process.

He said slogans and posturing cannot turn the tide of cynicism that engulfs the Irish political system at present.

“The priority has been power rather than policy,” he said.

“We want a change of Government, a change of priorities, we insist on our right to work to implement our priorities for the people,” he said.

Mr Martin said his parliamentary party will meet to discuss the issue of what to do next.

“It is our intention to continue the other ongoing discussions which are already underway,” he said.

He added: “It is important to say that one of the things which was rejected by the people in the election is an approach to politics driven by constant hype and spin. The never-ending stream of unattributed comments designed to influence perception rather than fairly reflect reality has only served to damage public perception of politics,” he said.

“There can be no trust and no real change if this approach to politics continues. As I have said, we are working to implement the mandate which we received. We want to rebuild trust based on a new government, new priorities and reformed politics. This is not just a challenge for us. It is a challenge to everyone here,” Mr Martin added.

Mr Martin said independent studies show that up to a third of governments in Europe since 1945 have had minority support in parliament.

They have also shown that these governments have shown more respect for consultation in policy formation, have worked with real parliamentary oversight of all stages of the budget process and can encourage more fiscally responsible policies than many majority governments, he said.

********

Timeline of events in the Dáil today:

Update 5.15pm:Ruth Coppinger’s historic attempt to be Taoiseach has fallen flat.

Coppinger, who became the first woman to be nominated for Taoiseach in the history of the State ealier today, was defeated by 108 votes to 10.

Update 4.55pm: Micheál Martin bid for Taoiseach has also been rejected by a Dáil vote. He loses out by 95 votes to 43.

There were 20 abstentions.

None of the 15 independent TDs who took part in coalition talks supported either of the two leaders. Only Fianna Fáil TDs supported Mr Martin.

Update 4.30pm: The motion to nominate Enda Kenny as Taoiseach has been rejected in the Dáil. It was defeated by 80 votes to 51.

Michael Lowry was the only TD outside of Fine Gael to support Kenny’s bid for Taoiseach.

Update 4.25pm: The Dáil has begun the vote on Enda Kenny’s nomination for Taoiseach. Mr Kenny was rejected by a margin of 94 votes to 57 in the last vote on March 10.

Update 4pm: Labour leader Joan Burton has confirmed the party’s position that they will abstain on voting for Enda Kenny and vote against any other nominations.

The party feel today’s vote for Taoiseach is “premature”.

“There are a range of immediate policy issues which demand urgent action, housing and healthcare, to name just two,” said Burton.

“I can’t help but notice FG's doc ‘a strong economy for a decent society’ is borrowed wholesale from the Labour Party manifesto.”

“Fianna Fáil, in my view, have prevaricated while they try to figure out what’s best for themselves. Fianna Fáil are serving their own best interests rather than the people’s best interests, as they prevaricate about government and put themselves first.”

Update 3.35pm:Richard Boyd Barrett of Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit party has said that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil “obsessed with the drug of power”.

The Dún Laoghaire TD has nominated Ruth Coppinger for the position of Taoiseach. Coppinger is the first woman in the history of the State to be nominated for the position.

Update 3.25pm: Dáil vote passed to meet again on April 14 after today’s business by 101 votes to 56.

The Dáil has now moved onto the nominations for Taoiseach. Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West Noel Rock has proposed Enda Kenny, he has been seconded by Catherine Byrne.

Update 3.10pm: Dáil is to vote to decide whether it will adjourn to April 14 after today’s business. Fianna Fáil look set to support Fine Gael in that motion.

Update 2.55pm: Sinn Féin has called for the establishment of a special committee of the Dáil to tackle the homeless crisis.

Update 2.45pm: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said the party vote against Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and abstain on the vote for Ruth Coppinger.

Update 2.25pmLabour has said they will abstain from voting for Enda Kenny and will vote against Micheál Martin and other nominees in Dáil today.

The party have confirmed they received a copy of Fine Gael’s proposals for government last night and Joan Burton met Enda Kenny before a Cabinet meeting this morning.

Earlier: TDs will be back in Leinster House for a second vote on the election of the role of Taoiseach this afternoon.

The vote comes 40 days after the General Election and it is highly unlikely that anyone will be elected today.

The Independent Alliance have confirmed they will abstain from a vote for a Taoiseach this afternoon as the group believes neither of the main parties have put forward radical enough measures.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams will decline to put his name forward for the Taoiseach nomination after branding the vote "absolutely pointless".

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin will finally meet face-to-face for the first time after the vote this evening.

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