Dáil Day One: Micheál Martin pours cold water on Fine Gael deal

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has once again ruled out any deal with Fine Gael, saying his party “didn’t get a mandate to put Fine Gael back into government” amid growing concern the stalemate could cause a second election.

Dáil Day One: Micheál Martin pours cold water on Fine Gael deal

The opposition leader made the comments despite the only other potential option of Fianna Fáil leading a non-Fine Gael minority government failing to gather essential non-party support at this stage.

Speaking to reporters during a break in the Dáil’s highly contentious one-day return Mr Martin flatly rejected any possibility of cutting a deal. While Fine Gael has hinted at a 50:50 cabinet breakdown and a rotating taoiseach scenario in exchange for support, the Cork South Central TD said the plan will not happen.

“There’s a media obsession with Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael. The people did not vote for the return of this government. We didn’t get a mandate to put Fine Gael back into government,” he said.

Asked about the prospect of a rotating taoiseach scenario with Mr Kenny, Mr Martin said “you’re jumping way ahead of yourselves”.

While Mr Martin’s plan for Fianna Fáil to lead a minority government excluding Fine Gael is publicly backed by the vast majority of his party, it has to date failed to receive full backing from Independents and small parties. During yesterday’s taoiseach nomination vote, Mr Martin received 43 votes from Fianna Fáil and none from others, with six abstaining. The issue has led to mounting pressuring on Mr Martin and Mr Kenny to cut a deal to prevent a potential second election.

However, a senior Fianna Fáil spokesperson said no updates are expected today 72 hours before Mr Kenny travels to the US.

Meanwhile, a leading Fianna Fáil TD last night brushed off an altercation with a water protester. In a mid-day break in proceedings the Clare TD and transport spokesperson Timmy Dooley was approached on Molesworth St directly outside the gates of Leinster House, where a water protest was taking place.

A man grabbed Mr Dooley’s tie and attempted to punch him, before he was stopped by health spokesperson Billy Kelleher. Mr Dooley said this afternoon what happened was minor and was nothing to worry about.

“I intervened in a gentle manner,” Mr Kelleher told the Irish Examiner.

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