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Enda is confident he can satisfy Independent TDs' concerns and secure a government today

A fourth vote for Taoiseach is scheduled for Dáil Éireann at midday.

Updated at 10.50am

Posted by on Friday, 6 December 2019

THERE IS ONE simple question on the lips of those who have been following the goings on at Dáil Éireann over the 70 days since the election: “Will today finally be the day we get a new government?”

There have been three votes already, all have which have proved inconclusive, but today’s vote at midday in Leinster House is expected to finally give Enda Kenny the support of the six extra TDs he needs to become the first Fine Gael Taoiseach to retain his job.

With Fianna Fáil set to abstain from today’s vote following the agreement reached between the two largest parties last weekend, it seems that following the release of a 160-page draft programme for government yesterday Fine Gael now finally will have that support in place.

Talks resume

Talks between the various independents continued late into the night, and indeed will continue this morning with Fine Gael from 9am, but the indications are that today will finally be the day.

Further to the Dáil vote, the allocation of ministries to independents in the new Dáil and the make-up of the new cabinet will be topics of interest.

There had been some suggestion that Fine Gael had jumped the gun somewhat by calling today’s vote before the various independents had seen the new draft document let alone agreed upon it, with Mattie McGrath of the rural alliance of independent TDs especially aggrieved.

Capital Investment Plan launch Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Last night on RTÉ’s Prime Time Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton had denied that this constituted ‘arrogance’ on the part of his party.

“There is a view on all sides that we needed to move this on before the weekend,” he said.

People need to form a government. We’ve spent a lot of time identifying issues and deciding on the programme we want to take.

The majority of the six-strong Independent Alliance of TDs are now expected to support Kenny in today’s vote, with Shane Ross, Waterford’s John Halligan, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, and Finian McGrath understood to be finally on board.

02/05/2016. General Election 2016 - Government For Independent Alliance TDs Michael Fitzmaurice, Finian McGrath, and Shane Ross Source: Leah Farrell

Doubts still remain over Roscommon’s Michael Fitzmaurice and Galway’s Sean Canney has emerged as someone with a question mark over his head.

Fitzmaurice continues to have issues over turf-cutting in his Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency.

Canney meanwhile has told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that “I haven’t made up my mind yet”.

“We have issues with turf-cutting and infrastructure,” he said. “Myself I want to be sure the Western Rail Corridor is seen as a viable project and isn’t forgotten, I am looking for that recognition. Hopefully we’ll have a conclusion this morning.”

Finian McGrath and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran meanwhile told the programme that they are satisfied with the document that they have seen, but that they are standing by their colleagues who have reservations.

“I’m quite happy with the document in its entirety,” Moran said.

But I’m standing by my colleagues at this juncture.

Who wouldn’t want to be a minister

Asked whether or not he was hoping to be appointed to a ministry in a new government, Moran replied that he “would never turn down an opportunity for a challenge”.

Doesn’t everyone want to be a minister?

Fine Gael Galway TD Seán Kyne, one of its chief negotiators with the independents, meanwhile told the programme that he believes that the problems with wording can be worked out.

1/4/2016. Talks on Forming a New Government Kevin 'Boxer' Moran Source: Leah Farrell

“I am hopeful that the wording can be agreed between Michael Fitzmaurice and Heather Humphreys,” he said.

Asked what would happen if the requisite six independents couldn’t be secured today, Kyne replied “I would imagine the Taoiseach will be going to the Park”, meaning another election.

But I don’t think that is likely from what I’m hearing. We still have 12 independent TDs at the negotiating table, I wouldn’t have expected to have anything like that amount still in discussions at this stage.

The so-called rural alliance of five independent TDs including Roscommon’s Dennis Naughten are understood to still be considering and discussing the draft document released yesterday.

Noncommittal

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier today Michael Fitzmaurice said noncommittally that he would “have to go with the situation in front of me over the next couple of hours” before making his decision.

“I’m looking for a way of fast-forwarding the relocation of people cutting turf in banned bogs, and of trying to solve this problem,” he said.

Particularly in the case of these conserved bogs, I want to ensure that people who have been working these bogs won’t be waiting two or three years for planning permission.

Independent Katherine Zappone, one of the first to throw her hat in with Fine Gael some weeks ago, told RTÉ television last night that the draft document issued to independents yesterday “demonstrates the interests of everyone who has had negativity towards Fine Gael over the last few months”.

It’s a good thing, we’re moving forward now and there is an openness to taking on board the views and policies of TDs who are not part of Fine Gael.

When asked regarding the issue of ministries being issued to independents Zappone said: “I don’t know”.

Originally published 7.44am

Read: Here’s what Fine Gael is promising independent TDs in return for their support

Read: Only 75 local authority houses were built in 2015 – the worst year on record

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