Kenny and Martin meet for talks following Dáil defeat

Enda Kenny
Image caption Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been seeking backers to form a new government

Talks have begun between the leaders of the Republic of Ireland's two major parties on forming a government.

It follows failed attempts by Fine Gael's Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil counterpart Micheál Martin to be elected taoiseach on Wednesday.

It was their second attempt since February's General Election.

Enda Kenny was defeated by 80 votes to 51, while Micheál Martin was defeated by 95 votes to 43.

Wednesday evening's meeting was described as initial and preliminary, with just a note taker present.

The pair are expected to have further discussions on Thursday ahead of any talks between their party negotiators.

Enda Kenny insisted at a party meeting on Tuesday he would not consider a short-term deal.

The Dáil last met on 10 March, when TDs failed to elect a taoiseach to form a government..

Following the February election to the Dáil, Fine Gael has 50 seats, Fianna Fáil 44, Sinn Féin 23 and the Labour Party got seven.

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