TD warns Independents could pull out of government talks "at any time"

Simon Coveney says he expects to work through the weekend

TD warns Independents could pull out of government talks "at any time"

Mattie McGrath | File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

An Independent TD has warned Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil they could pull out of talks at any time.

The comments from Mattie McGrath come as another day of negotiations with Fine Gael gets underway at Government Buildings.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath says realistically the two big parties have to talk to each other, and soon.

Fine Gael negotiator and acting Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney says he expects to work through the weekend and that it will be Monday before there is a final document to put to Independents for agreement.

He says it is only then that Fine Gael would approach Fianna Fáil looking for support.

Fianna Fáil has decided to hold round-table talks with Independent TDs next week, just hours before the Dáil meets to attempt to elect a Taoiseach.

The move may now change plans by acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny to initiate contact with Micheal Martin as early as tomorrow.

And Finance Minister Michael Noonan is due to join the talks tomorrow when he will lay out the party's position documents on the economy and housing and what is affordable.

Last night, Fine Gael sources were adamant that Mr Kenny will only contact Fianna Fáil and other opposition parties when he has an agreed programme of priorities with the Independents to see what support would be forthcoming.

Whether or not that will now be ready tomorrow remains unclear.

And Fianna Fáil's decision to schedule round table talks on Monday and Tuesday, just before the Dáil is due to meet on Wednesday, may see a change of tack from Fine Gael.

Mr Martin has written to government departments requesting that civil servants be available for the negotiations, which could go down to the wire before the Dáil meets.

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