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Group of independent TDs calls for Government formation talks deadline

The regional group, which has eight Independent TDs, says more urgency needs to be injected into Government formation talks.

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Denis Naughten is the convenor of The Regional Group (Brian Lawless/PA)

Denis Naughten is the convenor of The Regional Group (Brian Lawless/PA)

Denis Naughten is the convenor of The Regional Group (Brian Lawless/PA)

A group of Independent TDs in the Dail has urged Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to set a deadline for coalition talks.

The group held talks with chief negotiators from both parties on Monday as Government formation talks continue 10 weeks on from February’s inconclusive election result.

The group discussed the framework document published last week by the two parties on Government formation.

The Regional Group of TDs has said it must be treated as an equal partner in any Government formation talks and not just be used to make up the numbers in a coalition arrangement.

The Regional Group’s convenor, Independent TD Denis Naughten, said the meeting was constructive but that the pace needs to be sped up.

In a statement following the meeting, he said: “It is time for a clear deadline from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael on when they expect a decision from smaller parties on whether they will enter discussions on the formation of Government and when substantive talks will start on an actual programme for Government.

“We are now in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, facing into challenging economic times with significant threats to jobs as well as the ongoing challenges of housing, agriculture and health. The public needs leadership that can only be provided by a stable Government with a clear mandate and this needs to happen quickly.”

The Regional Independent group consists of Naughten. Cathal Berry, Sean Canney, Peter Fitzpatrick, Noel Grealish, Michael Lowry,  Verona Murphy and Matt Shanahan.

PA