Gerry Adams criticises independents for taking part in 'charade' coalition talks

The Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan says he does not believe it is in anyone's interests to abolish Irish Water

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Image: Paraic Gallagher

The Sinn Féin leader has hit out at independent TDs - criticising them for taking part in 'charade' coalition talks.

Gerry Adams says the talks have no future without the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil holding talks.

He says the two parties are engaged in a 'phoney war' which means the current talks are pointless.

Deputy Adams says independents also carry some blame for allowing the talks to continue, saying "this little masquerade continues while the health crisis intensifies... the homelessness and housing crisis intensifies":

Fianna Fáil's Willie O'Dea criticsed Mr Adams' comments on Newstalk Lunchtime, suggesting "wouldn't Gerry Adams love to see Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael sitting over on the Government benches, while he could act as the tribune of the people from the opposition benches?"

Sinn Féin Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald responded to Deputy O'Dea's comments, saying "Irish politics has changed, and Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael haven't caught up with that fact.

"Even though the numbers tell you that [they] can do a deal... policy-wise they can do a deal... there real concern is that they still want to maintain that position of overwhelming power, dominating government and opposition," she added.

The comments from the Sinn Féin leaders come as the Independent Alliance is holding day-long talks with Fianna Fáil.

However, it is looking increasingly likely that Independents will not be in a position to vote for either Micheál Martin or Enda Kenny for Taoiseach when the Dáil meets tomorrow.

That will result in a further adjournment and the long-awaited discussions between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Yesterday the Independent Alliance - containing six TDs - and the Rural Alliance - of five members - suggested they will not back either Micheál Martin or Enda Kenny for the time being.

Roscommon Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice says a lot of talking has yet to be done, adding that he would be surprised if anybody could make a commitment ahead of tomorrow's vote:

The issue of Irish Water is seen as a stumbling block to Government formation.

Reports today claim Fianna Fáil is working on a bill to scrap the utility, while Fine Gael has insisted they will not get rid of water bills.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said "I don't believe it's in anyone's interest to abolish Irish Water. I think there are legal and wider European dictates as far as that's concerned.

"There are people in the hundreds of thousands who have already paid their bills, there are bills due and outstanding. I don't believe it's in anybody's interest, much less that of the country, if we were to now suddenly abolish Irish Water," he suggested.