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Limited time for talks: Gilmore

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Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has warned there is limited time for a deal to be done to form a coalition government

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has warned there is limited time for a deal to be done to form a coalition government

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has warned there is limited time for a deal to be done to form a coalition government

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has warned there is limited time for a deal to be done to form a coalition government with Fine Gael.

"If Fine Gael want a government for a period of five years, strong, stable that brings together the two largest parties, in what will be the closest we're going to get in this country to essentially a national government, the Labour Party is willing to play its part in that," he said.

"But I do say that the window of opportunity for that to happen is very narrow."

Fine Gael faces difficult talks with Labour with the sides at odds over the length of time it will take to turn around the budget deficit, tax, public sector cuts, water charges and how to tackle bondholder responsibility for banking debts.

Labour also warned it has its own parliamentary party hoops to jump through if it wishes to enter government.

But depending on the numbers, Enda Kenny could turn to independents, with the new Dail parliament home to a significant non-party bloc spearheaded by former Senator Shane Ross and developer Mick Wallace.

But thrashing out a coalition with them could prove difficult given a sizeable amount of left-leaning TDs, while former stockbroker Mr Ross is also demanding a referendum on the IMF/EU loans.

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Mr Kenny has vowed to force Europe's hand on renegotiation of the deal - but has made no mention of a referendum. The Mayo poll-topper, who secured the largest vote in the country, said he wanted a quick resolution to talks on a new government.

"We don't want a situation where this is going to be dragged out," Mr Kenny said.

Fine Gael remains on course for about 75 Dail seats, just a handful shy of majority single party government in the 166-strong parliament.


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