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Days of majority rule are over, says Micheal Martin

Published 17/04/2016

Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin was speaking at his party's annual commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising at Dublin's Arbour Hill
Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin was speaking at his party's annual commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising at Dublin's Arbour Hill

Ireland is on the cusp of a more complex style of government that strips absolute power from leaders, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has declared.

Ahead of crunch talks resuming this week between his party and Fine Gael on a new minority administration, Mr Martin said the days of majority rule are over.

"I hope that we will shortly be able to move our politics on to a more inclusive and consensual approach," he said.

"No one in Dail Eireann will be able to dominate decisions - and this is a good thing."

Speaking at his party's annual commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising at Dublin's Arbour Hill, the Fianna Fail leader attacked the arrogance of the outgoing Fine Gael/Labour coalition.

Mr Martin said the unprecedented voter schism after February's general election meant the old political system was now "broken and cannot continue".

"The idea that you can only govern if you can control everything which happens in the Oireachtas is completely discredited," he said. "We need a politics which respects important differences between parties and groups and requires a much deeper engagement on substance.

"This works well in many countries and it can work here if people are willing to try."

Mr Martin said his party would be "flexible" in this week's negotiations.

"We are willing to allow a new form of government to develop," he said.

"It will end the old and discredited approach and it will certainly be more complex - however, just simply carrying on as in the past is not an option."

Formal talks between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael on breaking the political deadlock are to resume on Monday.

Over the weekend, Labour confirmed it was considering fresh advances from Fine Gael about going back into power as part of a minority government.

Acting Communications Minister Alex White, who lost his seat in the election, said there were talks between the parties in recent days.

But he insisted it was too early to suggest a new partnership, adding that his party's instinct was to head for the Opposition benches after its drubbing at the polls.

Caretaker Taoiseach Enda Kenny is also thought to be eyeing the Greens as part of a possible minority rainbow coalition supported by some Independents.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he would not rule anything out.

"We've been talking to each of the other parties and this week we did that with Fine Gael, Labour, the Social Democrats, Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail and I expect to do that again next week," he said.

Mr Ryan also cast doubt on any deal being struck before the Dail resumes on Wednesday.

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