Despite Enda Kenny’s rush back to Ireland – cutting his St. Patrick’s week Washington two-day visit by a day – his attempts to form a new government are still in turmoil.
Although public opinion believes his 50 Fine Gael TDs (members of Parliament) should form some form of government with Micheal Martin’s 43 Fianna Fail TDs, the two parties have yet to start talks following the general election almost three weeks ago.
The Fine Gael/Labour coalition was heavily defeated and Fianna Fail more than doubled its seats to 44. Fianna Fail settled for 43 TDs who can vote after one elected member became Ceann Chomhairle, or speaker, in the Dail.
Kenny has been acting taoiseach at the head of a caretaker administration since the Dail failed to agree on a full-time taoiseach last week.
Now he and Martin have been separately trying to negotiate to form a government with smaller parties and independents ranging right across the political spectrum from right to left.
Both leaders have refrained from approaching Sinn Fein which won 23 seats and has insisted that it wants to remain in opposition.
Outgoing Jobs Minister Richard Bruton this week said Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will have to unite to form a stable government.
He was speaking at a jobs launch by Facebook which is adding another 200 employees to increase its workforce total in Ireland to 1,500 by the end of 2016.
“There is no point in having a government that is continually looking over its shoulder at when the mat will be pulled from under it -- that is the sort of government that some people seem to think would work,” Bruton said.
Kenny is due to report on efforts to form a government when the Dail meets again on March 22.
The next vote in the Dail on the position of taoiseach is due to take place on April 6.