Micheál Martin confident of breaching talks’ impasse

Micheál Martin has said he is confident of a major breakthrough on government formation as his party goes into serious talks with Fine Gael today.

Micheál Martin confident of breaching talks’ impasse

However, the talks, which are seen as the first meaningful discussions between the two parties, may face collapse if Fine Gael is not willing to agree in principal to supporting a Fianna Fáil-led minority.

Independent TDs say that the parties must sign an agreement on supporting a minority government for a certain length of time before they commit to entering any government. Members of the Independent Alliance and rural Independents have also signalled that they will not be voting in the third ballot to select a taoiseach on Thursday.

Both main party leaders along with their negotiation teams are expected to meet in Dublin this afternoon in a bid to hammer out agreement on the formation of a minority government.

Writing in today’s Irish Examiner Mr Martin said he believes a minority administration could provide stronger governance. “We have seen in recent years that strong majority governments can be arrogant, divisive and unfair,” the Fianna Fáil leader writes.

“We need to move to a reformed political system which ends the days of dominant governments and gives every TD the right and obligation to participate in the work of the Oireachtas.”

Fianna Fáil has repeatedly said it would be willing to facilitate a Fine Gael-led minority government if it receives backing from Independents.

However, Mr Kenny’s party has not committed to the same if Fianna Fáil comes out on top and it is expected this will have to be addressed before negotiations can continue today.

While the option of supporting a Fianna Fáil-led minority government was rejected outright by Fine Gael last week, there was a slight softening of this stance yesterday. Acting Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she does not favour entering any talks with preconditions, but said the offer of a partnership government, which Fianna Fáil has rejected, is still on the table.

However, acting Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe told RTÉ’s This Week programme that a Fianna Fáil-led minority government is “not feasible”.

“A Fianna Fáil minority government cannot deliver the stability that is needed,” he said. The two parties are due to continue talks with Independents this week.

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