Republic of Ireland news

Enda Kenny to make fourth attempt to be re-elected Taoiseach

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire
Brian Hutton

THE Dáil is to meet again today to try to elect a new Taoiseach following a lengthy political stand-off.

Enda Kenny is to make his fourth and likely final attempt to be re-elected.

The Fine Gale leader believes he has enough support from a raft of independents to help prop up a minority government led by his party, which suffered humiliating losses in February's general election.

His re-election would be the first time a Fine Gael leader has won a second term in office.

In a landmark deal struck at the weekend, bitter rivals Fianna Fáil agreed to effectively support a Fine Gael-led minority government from the opposition benches in return for some concessions. The deal is to be reviewed in 2018.

Mr Kenny's party has since been locked in talks with two factions of 11 independent TDS - the Independent Alliance and the Rural Alliance - to agree a programme for government.

Several cabinet positions and junior ministerial roles are being offered to woo the potential coalition bedfellows.

The Fine Gael leader needs the backing of just six more TDs outside his own rank and file to help make it over the line.

The vote in the Dáil is expected to take place at noon today.

The leaking of a draft deal between Fine Gael and the independents threatened to upset last minute negotiations yesterday evening.

John Halligan, Waterford TD, said his Independence Alliance was "deeply disappointed" that the document was "leaked before we saw it".

"I think it is absolutely outrageous and unprofessional," he told reporters outside the talks.

"It's no way to do business."

Government chief whip Paul Keogh told TDs the Dáil would meet again for a special Friday sitting to vote for a Taoiseach.

The move is being seen as a deadline for independents to either join the coalition or rule themselves out of power.

The Republic has been locked in a political stalemate since the February 26 general election failed to produce a clear winner.

Bitter rivals since the civil war, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who have swapped power for generations, baulked at pressure to form a "grand coalition".

Attention is already being focused on how long a new minority government will last.

Under the arrangement, Fine Gael will have to rule and Fianna Fáil oppose without either of them undermining the other too much.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Republic of Ireland news