Irish election: Enda Kenny hopeful of government deal with independent TDs
Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny has said he is hopeful a deal with independents to form a new government could be signed off by Wednesday or Thursday morning.
Mr Kenny's party, Fine Gael, last week agreed a deal with Fianna Fáil to allow for a Fine Gael-led minority government in the Republic of Ireland.
Fine Gael will now meet the Independent Alliance and the Rural Alliance.
Mr Kenny said he would like to think a deal would be concluded this week.
Earlier, acting Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said he hoped an agreement would allow a vote for taoiseach on Thursday.
The talks with independent members of parliament (known as Teachtaí Dála or TDs) are expected to cover a wide range of issues from mortgage arrears and crime to wind turbines and cardiac care.
Independent TD for Kerry Michael Healy-Rae was less upbeat.
He said it was unlikely a vote for a taoiseach will take place this week.
Efforts to form a new government have been continuing since the Republic of Ireland's general election on 26 February.