Alliance waits for deal before talking

Independent Alliance members have told Fine Gael they will not engage in further government talks with negotiators until a final deal is hammered out with Fianna Fáil.

Alliance members met yesterday to discuss and pick through Fine Gael’s document for a minority government. The members were angry after weekend reports claimed Independent TDs were demanding a €13bn projects wishlist in exchange for support.

The group’s ultimatum comes with the negotiating teams of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil locked in talks about how to agree a minority government under Enda Kenny.

Fianna Fáil insists its support will only be secure if Mr Kenny can get the votes of at least six more TDs.

Mr Kenny last week secured the votes of two Independents. Guaranteed support from the six-member alliance would bring him over the line and above 58 — the number required to win the vote for taoiseach if and when Fianna Fáil abstains in the next Dáil vote.

Alliance member and Longford-Westmeath TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, speaking to the Irish Examiner, said his group was still waiting for a document agreed between the bigger parties.

“We want to see the terms and conditions, then we’ll talk,” he said. “We’d like if it was as binding as it can be. We want both parties to adhere to it. “

Alliance waits for deal before talking

Mr Moran rejected claims that Independents were trying to hold the next government to ransom with demands for up to €13bn in projects.

“Not one part of what we are proposing is ‘pork barrel’ politics, as has been claimed. We deserve more respect. Our desires are for things like broadband, roads, and turbines. Some of these are about policy changes, not billions of euro,” he said.

There are mixed views within the alliance about joining a Fine Gael government that would include Labour. There are suggestions the outgoing junior coalition partner is in talks about attempting a return to power with Fine Gael.

Waterford TD John Halligan said 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, they’re 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.”

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