Independents demand written agreement from main parties before vote

Independents have demanded a written agreement providing a commitment to supporting minority government from both of the main parties before voting for a taoiseach.

Increasingly frustrated Independent TDs are also ruling out voting for a taoiseach during Thursday’s ballot. Placing trust in either Enda Kenny or Micheál Martin for taoiseach is now a major issue for many of the 15 Independents who have been involved in government formation talks.

Both the Independent Alliance and the group of five rural Independent TDs have indicated they would need written commitment of support for a minority government for a set period in order to go into government.

Yesterday, many Independents said they would be abstaining in the third attempt to elect a taoiseach later this week, but a significant number are now understood to be veering towards supporting a Fianna Fáil-led minority government.

Shane Ross of the Independent Alliance said his group “would have to see a huge reversal in their attitude in their stance if we were to support” either party.

“There are huge difficulties in voting for Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael because of their past,” he told Newstalk.

Dr Michael Harty TD said the group of rural Independents would not be able to vote for either party unless they are given the written commitment. “We need to see how that minority government would be structured,” he told RTÉ’s This Week. He added that rural Independents would not be interested in entering a government that would fall after the next budget.

Independent Alliance TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said the people with the most power in the room were the Independents. “So they need to sit down, thrash out a programme for government, it’s going to have to be a three-budget term or four or five. How long it is going to last is very important to us to show where we are going,” he said on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics.


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