Divided Dáil: Enda Kenny will be ‘as flexible and generous as possible’ in talks with Micheál Martin

Crunch talks between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have now begun after the Dáil failed to elect a taoiseach for a second time.

Enda Kenny, Micheál Martin, and Ruth Coppinger were nominated for the position but did not succeed yesterday, with a large number of TDs abstaining.

Speaking in the Dáil after the vote, Mr Kenny said he would now be “as flexible and as generous as possible” in any talks with Mr Martin.

Responding, Mr Martin hit out at the fact he had first read of a meeting between the two leaders in newspaper reports. He added that he had yet to be contacted by Fine Gael to arrange a date and time to meet.

“It is important to say that one of the things which was rejected by the people in the election is an approach to politics driven by constant hype and spin.

“The never-ending stream of unattributed comments designed to influence perception rather than fairly reflect reality has only served to damage public perception of politics,” he said.

Mr Martin also made a thinly veiled attack on Sinn Féin and others who have not taken part in government negotiations. “Never before have so many spent so much time calling for a government that they will vote against,” he said.

But before TDs even got around to voting for a taoiseach, a number of members of Sinn Féin, Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit, and Independent TD Seamus Healy, voiced opposition to the fact that the Dáil would not be addressing the issues of homelessness and health.

Independent TD Seamus Healy
Independent TD Seamus Healy

A vote on the matter was taken but a motion to reconvene on April 14 to again try to elect a Taoiseach was carried.

Mr Kenny lost his ballot by 81 votes to 51 and was only supported by one Independent TD, Michael Lowry.

Mr Martin was defeated in his bid to become Taoiseach by 95 votes to 43, meaning he only got the support of his own TDs. Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger received just 10 votes.

The Healy-Rae brothers voted against Mr Kenny and Mr Martin despite being involved in negations with both parties.

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