Independents will not be ‘fodder’ in Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael deal

Enda Kenny may struggle to secure a minority government as Independents have said that there is a “motorway to travel” before they do a deal.

Although Independent TDs would be willing to go back into talks with Fine Gael, they have said they will not simply rubberstamp a minority government agreement.

Talks with Independents are likely to take a number of days with many signalling yesterday they still may not enter a Fine Gael-led minority administration.

Although the six members of the Independent Alliance maintained a united front in the initial talks, they could split when it comes to actually entering government, it is also likely that a number of the rural Independent TDs would back out.

However, Denis Naughten and Michael Harty are likely to sign up to a minority government agreement.

Mr Naughten yesterday said he has always been willing to enter talks but added: “If we can progress for the sake of the country we will but I’m not sure if that can be done.”

Michael Fitzmaurice of the Independent Alliance said the group would have to carefully examine any agreement made between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. He added that there are also outstanding issues which were raised during their own discussions with Mr Kenny’s party.

“There is a motorway to travel to be quite honest, the document has to come from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

“I want to see the detail of what’s going on with this pact between them.

“There is a question mark over the 31 policies that have been gone through, do they expect that the Independents are basically fodder in this, and there will be a dinner put in front of us and it will be a case of ‘eat it up, it will be good for you’? That’s not the way it will work.”

This was echoed by Finian McGrath who said: “We are not going to be rolled over in terms of our issues.”

He said talks could start as soon as this week if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil strike a deal but it would take a number of days before Independents would make up their minds.

Mr McGrath said that he had his list of priorities going into talks as did other members of the Independent Alliance and they would expect these to be met.

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