Independents unlikely to back Enda Kenny or Micheál Martin

Independent TDs will hold a series of meetings today to assess the first substantial Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil talks, but are unlikely to give either Enda Kenny or Micheál Martin enough support to gain power on Thursday.

Independents unlikely to back Enda Kenny or Micheál Martin

Separate sections of the de-facto political king-makers confirmed the situation last night, saying they expect no one to be elected taoiseach this week unless major developments take place.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Independent Alliance TD John Halligan said the six-TD strong group will meet today at 11.30am in Dublin to discuss Thursday’s vote.

He said the group “really does not know where we’ll be at” but stressed a key issue is whether Fine Gael will at least consider a Fianna Fáil-led minority government.

Fellow Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross told Newstalk his group “will come to a speedy decision once we see the colour of their money” and that the reality is “it will take beyond that [Thursday’s vote]”.

The separate group of five rural Independent TDs has also yet to make any decision, and will meet this afternoon.

However, group member Mattie McGrath said if there is progress on how a minority government would work, what “parameters” exist to ensure budgets are passed, and agreement on limiting no confidence votes, the rural TDs may change this view — a position backed by fellow group member Denis Naughten.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, Michael Healy-Rae said he and his brother Danny believe Fine Gael should not rule out a Fianna Fáil-led minority government just days after he appeared to back Mr Kenny’s party, saying: “It’s all up in the air until it comes down to the ground”.

The Social Democrats will also meet today to decide how they will vote on Thursday.

Similarly, unaligned Independents Katherine Zappone and Maureen O Sullivan are also believed to be undecided.

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