FF denies mood softening towards FG coalition

Parties to intensify efforts to woo Independents ahead of vote for taoiseach

 Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. The party will hold an all-day meeting with the group of five rural Independents. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. The party will hold an all-day meeting with the group of five rural Independents. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Meetings to discuss a possible new government will continue today as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil intensify their efforts to woo Independent TDs in advance of Wednesday’s vote for taoiseach.

Fianna Fáil will hold an all-day meeting with the group of five rural Independents. Tomorrow it will meet the six members of the Independent Alliance.

Front bench Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan dismissed reports that the party’s mood towards coalition with Fine Gael was softening. And party sources said the Leitrim Fianna Fáil organisation last week voted 50 votes to none against coalition with Fine Gael in an example of grassroots feeling, which is strongly against any such deal.

Fine Gael has scheduled a briefing today for Independent TDs with civil servants on Nama’s role in solving the housing and homelessness issue.

A source close to the talks between Fine Gael and Independents said he expected Enda Kenny to make a push to do deals in the coming days.

“You can see people being dragged into side meetings,” he said. “Having a shared vision on homelessness is all very well, but these people want more than that.”

Some Independent TDs say they have become warier of the prospects for government following warnings about budgetary constraints and the consequences of the health service not keeping within its budget.

“It’s going to be no bed of roses, that’s for sure,” said one prominent Independent . “A lot of the leeway is being gobbled up by the HSE.”

Meanwhile, in one of the first signs that investors may be concerned at the failure to form a government, Goodbody Stockbrokers is warning that the political uncertainty poses a risk to economic momentum.