"It's not a mandatory five year term we're talking about here" - Fianna Fail's Director of Elections

Billy Kelleher spoke to Newstalk Breakfast this morning

The focus turns today to the formation of a government and the action the parties will take in negotiations over the coming days.

Fianna Fail surpassed expectation with 24.3% of the first preference vote, just over 1 point behind Fine Gael, leaving them within a number of seats of the outgoing government party.

Billy Kelleher, incoming Fianna Fail TD for Cork north central and director of elections, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast this morning about what options the party will face over the coming weeks.

He said that on the 10th of March, his party will look to elect Micheal Martin as Taoiseach in order to form a government. If that's not carried, he said there will be a period of reflection.

Mr Kelleher stated: "We will be in new territory because of the make up. We're all in new ground.

"There will be intense negotiations looking around for like-minded support. Personally, what I think should happen is, Fianna Fail should publish a programme for parliament as opposed to a programme for government and try to seek support to support the Fianna Fail government with maybe tying in Independents, other parties as well, smaller parties, and to see could we command a working majority on a case by case basis.

"Many issues in parliament are not contentious, a lot of legislation will flow through parliament on a regular basis uncontested or just analysed and debated but not necessarily voted against. You could be bringing forward proposals that would have a majority support in parliament.

"It is highly unlikely that we would be in a position to support Fine Gael in government.

Presenter Ivan Yates asked Mr Kelleher how a government would come about, specifically in terms of a minority government. He replied: "It's not a mandatory five year term we're talking about here... You could have shorter terms. You could envisage a situation where a government would have a programme for parliament.

"It has to have a majority but the point I'm making is that majority is always given to them by the parliament. 

"Can it work? Clearly it would have difficulties but I think that we have to start thinking in an imaginative way to address what has happened in terms of the results of the Election.

He finished by stating: "All options are being considered and I think the first option is try to fulfill your mandate."

You can listen to his intervew here: