Key sticking points for Independents which could prevent Fine Gael deal

A number of key sticking points have emerged among Independents which could scupper the chances of doing a deal with Fine Gael.

Health, Education and regional issues are causing major setbacks in talks with the Independent Alliance and rural independent TDs and will have to be ironed out before they offer their support for Enda Kenny.

“There’s so many people involved in it, and they all have their own little blockages,” Finian McGrath said yesterday.

Shane Ross said: “It’s going to take longer, because there are real problems about patronage, cronyism and appointments. We’re working as fast as possible, but it will take time.”

Among the main issues:

Health

John Halligan has campaigned for cardiac care-services in the south east.

Although Simon Coveney travelled to speak with Mr Halligan in his constituency the issue still has not been fully addressed.

The Independent Alliance has previously said it won’t go into a minority government unless this issue is addressed so it could mean the withdrawal of all six members if it is not tackled.

Rural affairs

With the majority of Independents based in rural constituencies, rural affairs, regional development and agriculture are issues many around the table see as extremely important.

Fine Gael was last week forced to arrange a meeting between Independents and department officials on delays to broadband.

However, yesterday Denis Naughten said it was disappointing that the difficulties with provision had not been flagged earlier adding: “broadband is a vital issue”.

Mortgages

The Independent Alliance cite the mortgage arrears crisis as a red-line issue. It has been exchanging documents on the topic for a number of weeks and is demanding banks do deals with struggling mortgage holders to ensure they keep their homes.

Eighth Amendment

A number of TDs, including Mattie McGrath and Noel Grealish, have major concerns over repealing the Eighth Amendment. This could be a step too far, especially for Tipperary’s Mr McGrath.

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