Labour confirms it will not be part of formation of new government

A group of five independent TD says they're stepping up talks to form a government with Fine Gael 'in the national interest'

Labour confirms it will not be part of formation of new government

Joan Burton. Image: RollingNews.ie

Labour has confirmed it will not be part of, or help to form, a new government.

The party has decided to sit out the next term in government after a meeting of its parliamentary party this afternoon.

Labour says "when it comes to voting for a Taoiseach, we will listen to what the various candidates have to say in terms of the package they put to the Dail; the stability of any arrangement being put forward; and the programme for Govt proposed".

The statement comes as a group of five independent TD says they are stepping up talks to form a government with Fine Gael.

The group - all of whom are from rural areas - says it believes Fine Gael is "seriously determined" to form a government, and it will now engage on a programme for government.

The group had also met with Fianna Fáil in an effort to start putting a government together.

The five TDs are Michael Collins, Mattie McGrath, Denis Naughten, Dr Michael Harty and Noel Grealish.

The move will give acting Taoisech Enda Kenny a boost ahead of the next votes on appointing a Taoiseach in two weeks' time.

Newly elected Clare TD, Dr Michael Harty, says the group wants to explore every possibility, adding they are not supporting Enda Kenny or Micheál Martin in a leadership contest.

The Dáil will meet again on April 6th.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has been accused of "political showboating" in another row over Irish Water.

The party this morning tried to suspend the Dáil's usual agenda so it could table a motion calling for the water utility to be scrapped.

But the move was rebuffed by other parties, and by the Ceann Comhairle Seán O'Fearghail, who said the plan broke the internal rules of the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said Sinn Féin could not be allowed to dictate the agenda.