Mattie McGrath: I won't be voting for Kenny as Taoiseach

Mattie McGrath: I won't be voting for Kenny as Taoiseach

Update 11.36am: Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he will not be voting for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach this afternoon.

He stated: “I will not be voting for Enda Kenny this afternoon and will issue a full statement on my involvement in the talks and achievements to date as soon as possible!

“I would like to thank you all for your patience and understanding to date. Mattie”

Update 11.21am: The Fine Gael Parliamentary Party is hoping the vote will still go ahead as planned at 12 noon, but has requested one change to the Programme for Government document.

The meeting wants commitments around the Children's Ombudsman inserted into the document.

Clarity was also sought around the ongoing discussion with Independents on turf cutting - and TDs and Senators were assured that what was being sought was not a breach of the EU directive.

It needs to happen as soon as possible, according to Paschal Donohoe.

Mattie McGrath: I won't be voting for Kenny as Taoiseach

“The process has to come to an end today,” he said.

“We indicated this to everybody yesterday, I think it’s understood by everybody that this process has been going on for nearly 70 days. The country needs a Government.”

However, Independent Michael Collins said that he is not happy with the draft Programme for Government.

Mattie McGrath: I won't be voting for Kenny as Taoiseach

He wants the issue of abortion dealt with.

“I think the people elected the representatives of their Dáil and they should be making the decision in relation to abortion,” he said.

“We seem to be continuously moving quite a lot of issues, and I see this in the Programme for Government and other issues also, we’re setting up all sorts of forums and all sorts of discussion groups and I mean – who was elected here? We were elected to make a decision.”

Update 7am: Fine Gael may be forced into delaying the vote to elect Enda Kenny as Taoiseach by several hours after failing to get an agreement with Independents.

A number of issues remain outstanding and it's unclear if they can be resolved before the planned sitting of the Dáil at midday.

Fine Gael took a gamble yesterday afternoon and scheduled the vote for 12pm today in the hope they would conclude negotiations with Independents.

However, a number of issues remained outstanding and despite talks until after midnight a deal couldn't be reached.

Mattie McGrath: I won't be voting for Kenny as Taoiseach

One of the outstanding issues for the Roscommon TD and Independent Alliance member Michael Fitzmaurice relates to turf cutting on bogs.

Other members of the alliance have issues too and are sticking to their 'all for one' position that nothing's agreed until everything's agreed.

Talks are expected to resume at around 9am, but a scheduled meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and the planned high noon vote in the Dáil to re-elect Enda Kenny as Taoiseach may have to be delayed by a least a number of hours.

Earlier: Enda Kenny is facing a high noon vote to be re-elected the country's leader.

For the fourth and likely final time, the acting Taoiseach is going before the Dáil to ask for its backing to head up a minority government after over a months-long political stalemate.

He is counting on the support of a raft of Independents to get him over the line, having effectively handed them a deadline to join him or rule themselves out of power.

If successful, he will be the first Fine Gael leader in history to secure a second term in office. Ireland has been without an elected government for 70 days.

Outgoing coalition partners Fine Gael and Labour took a hammering in February's General Election, which opened up an unprecedented split in the Irish electorate.

Weeks of talks led to Mr Kenny's party doing a deal with arch-rivals Fianna Fáil, who agreed to abstaining from a vote of 157 TDs on his re-election.

A number of concessions were handed to the main Opposition party under the accord struck last weekend and which is to be reviewed at the end of 2018.

Since then, Mr Kenny's party has been locked in talks with two factions of 11 Independents - the Independent Alliance and the rural alliance - to agree a programme for government.

A number of Cabinet positions and junior ministerial roles are being offered to woo the potential coalition bedfellows. The Fine Gael leader needs the backing of just six more TDs outside his own rank and file to help make it over the line.

The vote in the Dáil is expected to take place at noon.

The leaking of a draft deal between Fine Gael and the Independents threatened to upset last minute negotiations being wrapped up on Thursday evening.

John Halligan, Waterford TD, said his Independence Alliance was "deeply disappointed" that the document was "leaked before we saw it."

"I think it is absolutely outrageous and unprofessional," he told reporters outside the government formation talks.

"It's no way to do business."

Nonetheless, Government chief whip Paul Keogh told TDs the Dáil would meet again for a special Friday sitting to vote for a Taoiseach. The move is being seen as a deadline for Independents to either join the coalition or rule themselves out of power.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, the traditionally dominant parties who swapped power for generations and whose bitter enmity stems back to the Irish civil war, balked at pressure to form a "grand coalition".

Attention is already being focused on how long a new minority government will last.

Under the arrangement, Fine Gael will have to rule and Fianna Fáil oppose without either of them undermining the other too much.

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