By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner Political Reporter
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams will decline to put his name forward for this afternoon's Dáil Taoiseach nomination vote because the TDs ballot will not see anyone win enough support and is "absolutely pointless".
The Louth TD confirmed the decision at a briefing at noon today, saying the position had been taken after lengthy consultation with party figures yesterday.
Speaking to reporters at Leinster House before the Dáil resumes for just the second time since February 3 - more than two months ago - later today, Mr Adams said while Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin and AAA-PBP's Ruth Coppinger are putting their names forward for Taoiseach, he will not.
Flanked by high-level colleagues including deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, the Sinn Féin leader said this afternoon's vote is "absolutely pointless" and that the Dáil should instead be addressing serious housing, homeless and health crises affecting those "outside the bubble".
"The leader of Fianna Fáil and the leader of Fine Gael are eventually going to meet [this evening], but it's disappointing that its taken so long for them to do so. It's also disappointing that the business of the Dáil remains suspended, and we are going to come together later this afternoon for a vote on the Taoiseach that will be entirely inconclusive and absolutely pointless.
"Enda Kenny it appears cannot be elected Taoiseach [by this afternoon's vote], neither can Micheál Martin, neither can I. It is a charade and a continuation of the game playing since the election.
"Sinn Féin will have no part in that charade. I will not be putting my name forward or letting my name be put forward for nomination," he said.
Mr Adams said all politicians should be focussing on serious issues in the health, housing and homeless instead of the Dáil's difficulties in forming a government.
While the position has been viewed with cynicism by some, he said his party will hold a briefing on the housing crisis with a woman who has been living in a hotel for a year at 5pm today - while the Dáil is sitting - and wants to set up a cross-party committee to address the housing issue along the same lines of the reform committee, which has met and made recommendations even though a new government has not been formed.
Although Mr Adams said it is "absolutely pointless" to put his name forward for the Taoiseach nomination, he confirmed his name has "already been put forward" to be voted back in as leader of his party at its Ard Fheis in Dublin later this month.
Asked if anyone else has put their name forward - a situation that would represent a significant change in Sinn Féin tradition - Mr Adams said "I don't know", with a party spokesperson later confirming no other TD has shown an interest in the role.