Taoiseach says talks to form a new government will include Fianna Fáil

Sinn Féin has begun its own talks with other TDs

Enda Kenny, Taosieach, new government, talks, Fianna Fail, Irish Water, Sinn Fein, GE16, coalition,

Enda Kenny and Michael Martin at the turning on of the Oireachtas Christmas Tree lights in 2015 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Enda Kenny has again opened the door to a coalition with Fianna Fáil, saying it is his duty to speak to them about providing a stable government.

But the Taoiseach says it is a core Fine Gael policy to retain a single national water utility, and to charge an affordable amount for water charges.

Sinn Féin has meanwhile begun its own talks with other TDs about forming a government which would include water charges as a major issue.

Sinn Féin has it has begun talks with independent TDs about potentially forming a new government. But the party has again ruled out any prospect of entering a coalition alongside Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

The party deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald says even if either party proposed a programme for government Sinn Féin could support, it could not believe that the programme would be implemented.

And she says the public has now given a clear demand for water charges to be abolished permanently.

But the Taoiseach Enda Kenny says talks to form a government will include Fianna Fáil.

The Fine Gael parliamentary party is set to meet tomorrow, to formulate 'a set of principles' for a potential government.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that Fine Gael wants to form a new coalition, and it is prepared to engage "fully and inclusively" with other parties.

Fianna Fáil says water charges and the abolition of Irish Water is key to its support of a government.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea says his party is in favour of the abolition of Irish Water.

However, he says even if his party gets into government, it is unlikely to happen for five years - and could only follow a major capital investment in the water network.

He told The Right Hook that those who have not paid their water charges are legally obliged to do so:

An internal document seen by the Irish Times claims the abolition of Irish Water by a new government would cost the State up to €7bn over the next five years.

The cash costs of abolishing the utility have been estimated in the Irish Water documents at about €100m.