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Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny makes second coalition offer to Fianna Fail

By Ed Carty, Press Association

Published 08/04/2016

Fine Gael leader and caretaker Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Fine Gael leader and caretaker Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Campaign posters for Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, top, and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny

Ireland's acting Prime Minister Enda Kenny has issued a second plea for his arch rival to accept a ground-breaking coalition government.

Opposition leader, Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin, flatly dismissed the first offer to join a partnership with old civil war enemies in Mr Kenny's Fine Gael and end a six week political stalemate.

The Taoiseach said it was in the national interest and called for a new way of doing politics to provide stable, lasting government alongside reform of the parliament.

"Ending civil war politics is the best thing for our country now," he said.

Mr Kenny has written to Mr Martin and 15 Independents in the Dail, a hung parliament after the February elections, with the revived offer.

He has asked them to join round table talks next week.

"Our proposal is to create a government based on parity of esteem, consensus building, mutual respect and collective decision making," Mr Kenny said.

"Such a Government would have the capacity to deal with our country's challenges over a full Dail term and beyond.

"Our approach to further discussions with the Independents and other political parties would be based on the principle that all those who work to form such a Government would have an opportunity to participate in it, consistent with their electoral mandates."

The proposal would end more than 90 years of bitter civil war era enmity between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and break a deadlock caused by an unprecedented voter split in the general election.

Mr Martin, whose relations with Mr Kenny are understood to be lukewarm at best, rebuked the original offer in a frosty 10-minute meeting with the caretaker Taoiseach on Thursday afternoon.

But Mr Kenny said the proposed talks could give people the chance to discuss and agree how such a government will work.

"I believe that a partnership government is in the best interests of our country and deserves full consideration," he said.

Mr Kenny claimed his party has made every effort to form a government since the election to tackle serious national and international challenges facing Ireland.

He pointed to housing and homelessness with 5,000 people in emergency accommodation, pressure on the health service with record overcrowding in A&Es, employment, rural issues and the threat of Brexit.

Irish voters face the prospect of going back to the polls if a stable minority government cannot be formed within the coming weeks.

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