Kenny to consult Ministers on moves to form government

Fianna Fáil calls for political reform to be agreed before the new Dáil convenes

After election upheaval, the main focus of speculation is on a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition, but is it likely to happen? Harry McGee, Stephen Collins and Sarah Bardon discuss.

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today seek a mandate from his Fine Gael ministerial colleagues to begin moves to try and put a new government in place.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has taken the first initiative since the inconclusive election result by making a pitch for major political reform before the new Dáil meets tomorrow week.

With a minority government of some kind the most likely outcome, Mr Martin’s move is designed to ensure a substantial shift in power from Ministers to ordinary TDs in the new Dáil.

Mr Kenny will discuss his response to the election result with his Fine Gael ministerial colleagues and attempt to agree an approach to the impasse created by the election outcome.

No decisions

Labour

With some of the final counts still to be completed yesterday it appeared that none of the Independent TDs or smaller parties had been formally contacted by either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil in an effort to win their support in the vote for taoiseach on March 10th.

The Independent Alliance of deputies will meet early this week, possibly as early as today, to discuss its options before it approaches Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil. The group comprises Michael Fitzmaurice, Shane Ross, Kevin “Boxer” Moran, John Halligan and Seán Canney, with Finian McGrath still fighting for a seat in Dublin Bay North.

Mr Fitzmaurice said he had been contacting other non- party deputies to see if they wanted to join the Independent Alliance in negotiating as a bloc with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Roscommon Independent deputy Denis Naughten said he would be acting alone but added his “door is open to everyone and anyone”.

The Social Democrats are also expected to meet today, according to Kildare North deputy Catherine Murphy.

Eamon Ryan of the Green Party again proposed the idea of a coalition government made up of Fianna Fáil, Labour, Social Democrats, the Greens and the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit.

In his statement Micheál Martin said the failure to implement any meaningful political reform remained one of the biggest broken promises of the outgoing Government.

“We believe that the new Dáil should not represent more business as usual – that it should involve a decisive move towards reformed politics. This should be addressed immediately and before the process of forming a new government is proceeded with. The next government should take up office subject to a reformed Dáil rather than leaving reform in the hands of that government,” said Mr Martin.

Continuity

“As such, we believe that the opportunity to implement meaningful reform of the working of Dáil Éireann should be taken up now and cross-Dáil agreement on reforms reached before discussions on the make-up of the next government advance.”

He said the elements of Fianna Fáil’s plan were to put a major limit on the ability of government to control all business on an ongoing basis, set timings for legislation except in emergencies and end the practice of guillotines (rushing legislation through), the establishment of an independent budget review office to cost all proposals brought to a vote by either government or opposition and the establishment of an office of independent legal adviser to the Oireachtas.