Most Independents willing to talk to larger parties if government deal is rejected
Martin says there is no ‘plan B’, and proposed coalition would be ‘truly transformative’
Michael Healy-Rea: “The Taoiseach, as far as I’m concerned, has no right if this falls through to get into his car and go to the Áras.”
A majority of Independent TDs have said they are open to entering talks with the larger parties if the proposed government deal is rejected on Friday.
Some TDs have said a new deal could be brokered within a week amid concern that Green Party members may reject the programme for government finalised last week.
The results of internal ballots on the deal will be announced by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party on Friday. The Green Party has widened eligibility for members who can vote by telephone on the programme. It has emailed members saying that registered voters who have not received their ballots can vote by phone.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is expected to be elected taoiseach by the Dáil on Saturday if all three parties give their assent to the coalition agreement.
Mr Martin said on Tuesday there was no “plan B” for government formation, saying the proposed coalition represented an historic combination that would be “truly transformative”.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned there will be a political crisis if the deal is not ratified.
However, more than 10 Independent TDs have told The Irish Times they are willing to meet with the main parties in a bid to form a government.
Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said he would “absolutely” be willing to enter talks should Friday’s vote prove unsuccessful.
“The Taoiseach, as far as I’m concerned, has no right if this falls through to get into his car and go to the Áras. Rather than plunging the country into an election, there are other options.”
Galway East TD Seán Canney said he believed a new deal could be brokered quickly.
“As an Independent I made it clear that I am always open to discussing the formation of a government, and, if the opportunity arises, participating on a partnership basis rather than an ‘add-on’ basis. I wouldn’t like to preempt the outcome, but I have ideas on how it could be done, and it could be done very fast.”
Waterford TD Matt Shanahan said he believed a new deal between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independents could be struck within a week.
Kildare South TD and former Army Ranger Cathal Berry also said he would be willing to potentially make up part of the next government, and said “militarily speaking you are expected to lead, you are not expected to stay on the sidelines”.