28/02/2011

Confusion Over Fine Gael /Labour Talks

Fine Gael and Ireland's Labour Party - the two most successful parties in Friday's general election in the Irish Republic - can't seem to agree on whether talks between them have been initiated or not.

The Labour Party was insisting on Monday morning it still has not heard from Fine Gael about forming a new Government, despite a spokesman for Enda Kenny claiming a message was left on Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore's phone.

Despite the confusion, both parties are expected to begin talks on forming a potential coalition government on Monday evening.

Voting counts are still ongoing in three constituencies. In Laois-Offaly, only 26 votes separate Fine Gael's Liam Quinn and John Moloney of Fianna Fail, for the last seat.

However, 154 seats have been settled in the Dáil so far, with Fine Gael the outright victor with 70 seats, the Labour Party on 36 and Fianna Fáil with 18. Sinn Féin so far has 13 but could make some further gains as recounts continue, and 17 Independents and others have been selected.

As expected the Green Party, who had been the minority party in the previous coalition, lost all six of their TDs, including their leader John Gormley.
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Celebrating winning the largest share of the vote in their history, Labour's Eamon Gilmore made a special thank you to supporters on Monday morning via Youtube.

In the video, a cleary elated Eamon Gilore said: "I want to that thank all those members of the Labour Party and all our supporters and everybody who helped in any way to make this a truly historic occasion for the Labour Party."

Speculation is also growing this morning that, following their hammering at the polls, Fianna Fáil could be surpassed by Sinn Fein for the role as main opposition party in the Dáil.

The Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Central Mary Lou McDonald said the party are open to discussions with like-minded newly elected independent TDs, in the effort expand their influence going into the 31st Dáil.

Fianna Fail have so far managed to take 18 seats, while Sinn Féin have 13 seats but Deputy McDonald said the party have yet to discuss the idea of allying themselves with some newly elected Independents.

Ms McDonald said: "We haven't had any sort of detailed discussion on joining forces with Independents.

"We are going into the Dáil as an independent political party ourselves, but we will work with anybody that shares some or all of our political objectives."

(DW)

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