Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil begin cosying up to each other

By Daniel McConnell, Political Editor

Fine Gael has given its strongest signal to date that a Coalition with Fianna Fáil is possible.

The party's director of elections, Brian Hayes, has said that discussions with Fianna Fáil “could occur” in the coming weeks.

Mr Hayes was speaking in advance of next Thursday when the Dáil is to convene to elect a new Taoiseach.

But as it is expected that no one will have sufficient support to be in a position to form a government, talks between various parties will begin in earnest.

While both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have looked to independents and smaller parties for support, there is growing momentum behind a coalition between the two parties.

Newly elected Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry released a statement saying Fianna Fáil could enter some arrangement, which would see the role of Taoiseach rotated between the parties.

“My Personal view is Fianna Fáil could agree to enter Government on an equal footing with a rotating Taoiseach. My view is a four-year commitment to Govern with only both in agreement being in a position to dissolve Dail is essential to good & stable government for the people,” he said.

It is seen that Mr MacSharry's comments are reflective of a wider view within his party and has been released in order to test the waters as to such a deal.

Meanwhile, one of the country's leading constitutional lawyers says Enda Kenny will be required to formally resign as Taoiseach if he fails to win majority support in the Dáil this week.

The former Attorney General John Rodgers says there was a precedent in 1989 when the then Taoiseach Charles Haughey was forced to resign, but stayed on as caretaker Taoiseach until a Government was formed.

The lower house will vote on the issue on Thursday with Mr Kenny, Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams all expected to be put forward.

Mr Rodgers said article 28 of the Constitution was very clear and he believes this would apply if the same happened this week.

He said: "Mr Haughey did resign, so far as I remember it, and that resolved the issue and I think that is the appropriate way it should be resolved.

"My view is that it is a very important signal that the Constitution is effective, that that would happen.

"And I think that's what should happen, if Enda Kenny doesn't secure the support of the majority of Dáil Eireann."

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