Sinn Féin is meeting smaller political parties today as efforts get underway to form a government.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have taken a step back as left wing parties try to gather the numbers.

The first government formation meetings are happening about now as Sinn Féin sit down with Solidarity People Before Profit and the Green Party with a view to forming a government.

Both Labour and the Social Democrats also hold their first post-election Parliamentary Party meetings.

It's expected Brendan Howlin will say his party should not go into government, while the Social Democrats are open to talking to everyone.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil meanwhile have taken a step back as they take stock of their poor election results.

It’s understood that the mood of the majority in Fine Gael is to go into opposition - but Fianna Fáil is said to be completely split on what to do, and whether it should / or should not work with Sinn Féin.

Meanwhile, the 19 Independent deputies elected to the 33rd Dail are mostly rural based, and Sligo Leitrim  Independent deputy Marian Harkin is convinced that a grouping of rural independent TDs, focused on balanced regional development, could be influential in the negotiations to form a government.

She told Midwest News today that, she has no red lines on who the grouping would talk to, and added that it is very early days in the negotiations and she is only now making the first tentative steps in talking to like-minded independent rural deputies.

 

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