Another attempt later to elect a Taoiseach

Another attempt will be made to elect a Taoiseach in the Dáil later – with Independents told this is their last chance to get Enda Kenny out of Government Buildings. Dail Chamber Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin issued the ultimatum to Independents to vote for him today as his name would not be going forward for the position of Taoiseach again. The move followed an effective breakdown in talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil last night. Last night Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil effectively ended talks for now without any discussion of policy, though both remain ready for further negotiations in the days ahead. Fianna Fáil says its policy document wasn’t ready – Fine Gael insisted there was an unwillingness by Fianna Fáil to engage on issues. The roadblock emerged hours after Fine Gael’s Parliamentary Party passed two motions – effectively restating its position on Irish Water and making it a redline issue; and insisting that the only options were a partnership Government or a Fine Gael led minority. But Fianna Fáil insisted it leading a minority was still on the table – until today – and began ringing around Independents urging them to vote for Micheál Martin today as that option would then be gone. But when the Dáil meets at 2:30 this afternoon the majority of the Independents in play are likely to abstain or vote against both Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin as they feel that backing either isn’t possible without a framework agreement in place.  So the only certainty is that a Taoiseach won’t be elected again today – and we’re closer to a second election now than at any point in the 48 days since the people cast their ballots.