Talks between Fine Gael and Independents to continue ahead of vote on Taoiseach

The Independent Alliance is sticking to their 'all for one' position until outstanding issues are dealt with

 taoiseach, vote, independents, negotiations, alliance, dail, fine gael, enda kenny

Shane Ross TD, Kevin Moran TD, Independent Alliance Coordinator Aisiling Dunne, Finian McGrath TD and Sean Canney TD. Image: RollingNews.ie

A member of the Independent Alliance says he believes the Dáil vote to elect a Taoiseach, planned for midday, will be delayed.

Longford-Westmeath TD Kevin 'Boxer' Moran says members of the grouping still have issues outstanding.

They are meeting Fine Gael ministers to try and resolve issues, and will meet Enda Kenny this morning.

Deputy Moran thinks a delay to the midday Dáil sitting is on the cards, but adds that they are "very close" to an agreement.

Fine Gael are hoping the vote will still go ahead as planned, with Paschal Donohoe saying it needs to happen as soon as possible.

"The process has to come to an end today [...] I think it's understood by everybody that this process has been going on for nearly 70 days," he said

Mr Kenny could make history today if he becomes the first Fine Gael Taoiseach to be returned to power.

A number of issues remain outstanding between Fine Gael and Independents and it is unclear if they can be resolved before the planned sitting of the Dáil at midday.

Fine Gael took a gamble by scheduling the vote for 12pm in the hope they would conclude negotiations with Independents.

However, a deal could not be reached despite talks continuing until after midnight.

One of the outstanding issues for the Roscommon TD and Independent Alliance member Michael Fitzmaurice relates to turf cutting on bogs.

Other members of the Alliance also have issues and are sticking to their 'all for one' position that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

Meanwhile, the Fine Gael parliamentary party has requested one change to the Programme for Government document.

The meeting wants commitments around the Children's Ombudsman inserted into the document.

Clarity was also sought around the ongoing discussion on turf cutting, and TDs and Senators were assured that what was being sought was not a breach of the EU directive.

Sean Kyne, Fine Gael TD for Galway West and member of the negotiating team, told Newstalk Breakfast there are 12 Independents 'still in play', with none yet on board.

"We would hope as many as possible if not all would be on board," he explained. "Senior ministers and the Taoiseach have made themselves available to any Independents who wish to pursue issues or seek clarification, as best we can, in relation to the very comprehensive [...] draft programme for Government".

Brian Hayes Fine Gael MEP for Dublin and Director of elections says today marks 'a new dawn for Irish politics'.

He says that a re-elected Enda Kenny will lead a "radically different Dáil - a Dáil that will have to work its way through issues where every political party in the Dáil will be part of the solution".