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Friday 22 September 2023 Dublin: 11°C
PA Wire/Press Association Images
# we go again
Dáil to vote for Taoiseach for the fourth time tomorrow
Some independent TDs are unhappy that certain items have been omitted from the draft document for government.

Updated 15.40

A FOURTH VOTE for Taoiseach is to be held at noon tomorrow in the Dáil.

Shortly before 4.30pm, the government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe put down a motion for the Dáil to sit on a Friday as talks between Fine Gael and independent TDs continue.

A 150-page draft document on a government programme has been given to the independents this afternoon.

Some independent TDs are unhappy that certain items have been omitted from the document.

Independent TD John Halligan told that no deal has been done yet, adding they only received the draft document a short time ago.

He said it was “outrageous” that independents received the document at the same time as it was leaked to some members of the media.

“We would have liked to see it first, I think that is a reasonable request.”

Some additional amendments are being added to the document this afternoon.

Minister Simon Coveney said today that Fianna Fáil do not have to see the document to give it their stamp of approval. He said any amendments made will not impact on the policies agreed between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Votes of support

With Fianna Fáil agreeing to abstain in the vote for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, Fine Gael’s 50 TDs need the support of six further independents as well as the assured votes of deputies Katherine Zappone and Michael Lowry.

Labour party TD Willie Penrose told RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke that Labour will “more likely than not” vote against Enda Kenny for Taoiseach when a vote is held.

Danny Healy Rae on the same programme said he had lost faith in Fine Gael during negotiations and would not be backing Enda Kenny. His brother, Michael Healy Rae would not be drawn on whether he would be backing Fine Gael.

Despite soundings that Independent Alliance TD John Halligan might be out, Minister Coveney said he did not believe this to be the case.

The minister said he had spent a lot of time discussing Halligan’s issue of the reinstatement of a 24-hour cardiac unit in Waterford Regional Hospital, adding they had worked through a lot of issues.

Speaking earlier on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, independent Cork South-West TD Michael Collins said that his support of the Taoiseach is not guaranteed.

“As things stand right now these things remain unresolved for me. And if they remain unresolved for me that means the people of rural Ireland are going to suffer and I’m not going to let the people of rural Ireland down,” he said.

There are still some outstanding issues. They say a week is a long time in politics, but to me a day is a long time in politics right now. And I have a very difficult decision to make and right now I would find it very difficult to support Enda Kenny for Taoiseach at this time.

Collins said that some of the issues he wanted addressed were land eligibility fines from Single Farm Payments and regulations governing aspects of the fishing industry he felt were “too strenuous”.

As well as the programme for government, there’s also some haggling to be done over possible ministerial positions for independent TDs.

A vote for ministers has been flagged by some sources for tomorrow, but this has yet to be confirmed.

There have been suggestions that the Independent Alliance wants up to a third of ministerial positions to go to independents with Shane Ross expected to be appointed to a senior position.

Fine Gael wants to secure more than six, however, to allow the minority government function with more breathing room in the Dáil.

The draft programme being put to the TDs today is based on negotiations over the past seven weeks.

Some independent TDs are likely to consult with supporters in their constituency before deciding whether they should endorse it.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today that “a great deal of drafting was done last night in respect of the issues that were raised by the rural alliance and independent alliance deputies”.

Additional reporting Ronan Duffy

Read: Talks with independents end for the night – without any agreement >

Read: Bums on seats: What ministries do independents have their eye on? >

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