Independent TDs are set to stand back and let talks between Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin proceed before deciding which way to vote next Thursday, at the third attempt to elect a taoiseach.

The Independent Alliance and five non-aligned rural TDs were last night reviewing draft policy documents drawn up by both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on priority policies going forward.

Sources in both groupings said they would return to their constituencies this week, take advice, and then watch on the sidelines as negotiations for a minority government get under way between Mr Kenny and Mr Martin.

However, frustrated deputies who have engaged in tens of hours of talks with both parties are also threatening to only remain available for government formation talks for another week.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, of the Independent Alliance, said he would only stay involved for another week. “People are waiting anxiously and they are growing tired,” he said.

Mr McGrath also called on Labour Party ministers, some of whom lost their seat but are still on ministerial salaries, to hand back their pay while government talks take place.

Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughten said the talks between Mr Martin and Mr Kenny were a “last chance” at forming a government. Independent TDs were “extremely frustrated”, he said. It was now up to both parties to “show leadership”.

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae claimed secret talks had been ongoing between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail for some 12 days.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan questioned whether the two big parties had a new vision for Ireland at all.


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