Up to 10 Independent TDs are set to support FG-led minority government

Michael Noonan drafted in to deal with John Halligan – sources

The six members of the Independent Alliance and up to three TDs in the rural alliances are set to support a Fine Gael-led minority government.

A tenth Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae may back the party, although he declined to be drawn on the issue last night when questioned by reporters.

One of the main sticking points in negotiations with the Independent Alliance was requests from Waterford TD John Halligan for expanded services in Waterford Regional Hospital.

Sources disclosed that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan was drafted in to deal with Mr Halligan because Minster for Health Leo Varadkar was uncomfortable with the nature of some of Mr Halligan’s request.


Mr Varadkar has previously expressed unease about doing constituency deals with health services, although Mr Halligan has insisted his requests will benefit the entire south east region.

It is also understood that acting Taoiseach Mr Kenny was personally involved in negotiations with Mr Halligan, and that Mr Varadkar was not handling the Waterford TD as the talks reached a conclusion yesterday.

At the weekend, Mr Halligan called Mr Varadkar an “impediment” to the talks. Mr Varadkar also caused anger in Fianna Fáil last week by claiming suspending water charges was the wrong thing to do.

Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath and Cork South West TD Michael Collins are unlikely to back the Government.

A number of the Independent TDs were unhappy at the announcement a Dáil vote would take place today.

They were unaware one had been planned and only received notification when the announcement was made in the chamber.

Mr Halligan said members of the Alliance were “furious”. He said: “The document was in the media as we were reading it.

“We made Simon Coveney aware we weren’t happy with that. It was outrageous. We also only learnt about a vote while we were in there.

“We had requested it be pushed back until Tuesday but the decision had already been made.”

However, after securing a range of measures in the area of health and agriculture, the Alliance indicated willingness to support the Fine Gael party.

The six TDs include Waterford TD Mr Halligan, Dublin Rathdown TD Shane Ross, Longford-Westmeath TD Kevin “Boxer” Moran, Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Michael Fitzmaurice, Galway East TD Sean Canney and Dublin Bay North TD Finian McGrath.

It is understood Mr Fitzmaurice was in negotiations late last night discussing issues surrounding turf cutting. However, his Alliance colleagues and Fine Gael sources said they were confident he would support the minority Government.

Three of the Rural Alliance are also expected to support Fine Gael.

Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten, Clare TD Michael Harty and Galway West TD Noel Grealish are due to back Mr Kenny and his party.

Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae was consulting with his constituents last night before making a decision. His brother Danny Healy Rae has opted out of the process.

Katherine Zappone and Michael Lowry have pledged their support to the minority government already.

In return Fine Gael is willing to offer three Cabinet seats and a super junior minister to the Independents.

The acting Taoiseach is also willing to offer Minister of State positions to a number of the Independents also.

It is unknown yet if the Labour party will support Mr Kenny’s nomination.

However it is widely expected the seven members will vote against the party due to the stance taken on water charges.

The Green Party and the Social Democrats will abstain in the vote for Taoiseach as will Fianna Fail per the agreement reached by the two parties.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before profit Alliance and Sinn Féin will vote against Mr Kenny.