Latest: 'Mixed views' among Independent Alliance TDs about joining Labour in Government

Latest: 'Mixed views' among Independent Alliance TDs about joining Labour in Government

Update 7.13pm: TD John Halligan has admitted there are differences within the Independent Alliance group about whether to join a Government that includes the Labour Party.

John Halligan says he has no personal problem with it, but others in the group are not keen to serve in a Government alongside both outgoing Coalition parties.

Labour is considering Fine Gael's approach to join its new Government, which would require the approval of a special conference.

John Halligan admitted that the Independent Alliance is divided on the issue.

“There are mixed views on it, in the sense that we’d be telling Fine Gael who to speak to,” he said.

“I mean, their entitled to speak to who they want to speak to and they’re already speaking to other independents.

“So my view would be – it wouldn’t matter to me who’s in Government, or who they want to speak to, it’s their prerogative to do that, if they want to.”

Update 4.55pm: President Michael D Higgins said today that he is "very, very well aware" Article 13.7 of the constitution which could see him making an address to the Oireachtas or the nation.

Latest: 'Mixed views' among Independent Alliance TDs about joining Labour in Government

President Higgins, who celebrates his 75th birthday today, was giving a lecture about paralysis in the EU, just yards from Dáil Eireann on Dawson Street.

Latest: 'Mixed views' among Independent Alliance TDs about joining Labour in Government

“I’m fully aware and watching what will flow,” he said.

“My hope is that whatever happens will be to the benefit of the Irish people. You will appreciate I can’t comment further at this time, it would be improper.”

Fine Gael has told Independents it is making good progress in talks with Fianna Fáil and believes a Taoiseach can be elected this week.

However it is understood that Fine Gael is now playing down the re-entering of Labour into Government, as many in Labour are uncertain the move would get passed by a party conference.

Earlier: A leading Labour TD has stated his strong opposition to the party re-entering Government with Fine Gael, writes Daniel McConnell, Irish Examiner Political Editor.

Latest: 'Mixed views' among Independent Alliance TDs about joining Labour in Government

Cork East TD and acting junior minister Sean Sherlock said his party has no mandate from the people to go back into Government.

Speaking on Cork 103 FM, he was asked about his previous comments about Labour staying out of power being the best course for the party.

“That remains my position, we did not receive a mandate to go into Government. To the question are we in discussions, the answer is no,” he said.

He confirmed that Fine Gael has been wooing Labour in a bid to securing a deal.

“Has there been overtures from Fine Gael to individual members at the highest levels, the answer to that is absolutely yes there has. Does Fine Gael want us as part of a minority Government, the answer to that is yes,” he added.

Latest: 'Mixed views' among Independent Alliance TDs about joining Labour in Government

Mr Sherlock said he is due to meet his own party supporters tonight but he is aware of the strong opposition to re-entering power.

“I have a meeting of members of my own constituency organisation and I am clear that the position is there is a very clear of the Labour that we should not go back to Government,” he said.

He said he also doubts the motives of Fianna Fail in the context of them supporting a minority Government.

“Fianna Fáil are now saying they will support a minority Government,” Mr Sherlock said.

“They are a long way of a majority of 79, but you could facilitate a minority Government but past experience would show that at the first sign of trouble Fianna Fail would pull the plug.

“People do not want an election, there is an electoral game is going on but that is not sustainable.

“There is a school of thought within Labour that to remain relevant you have to remain part of a new Government. I don't subscribe to that school of thought.

“Physiologically when I won my seat it was with a view to going into opposition. We didn't receive a mandate into Government.

“Well there is an element of that [ie being lost in opposition] but you have to go into power with a mandate,” he added.

Speaking about what happens if Labour were to go into power, Mr Sherlock confirmed that there would be no need to change leader.

But he said his strong view is that she should resign and that there is a mood for change.

“If we transition into Government there is no need to change leader, but if we go into Opposition a leadership race must happen,” he said.

“I am giving Joan some latitude, she said she would consider her position once a government is formed.

“I am happy to allow her that time, but i do believe there will have to be a leadership contest.

“I am not sure if going into government is in the best interests of the party, supporters are not in the mood for going into power.”

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