Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has rejected claims that he asked Trevor Sargent to find out if Sinn Féin would be prepared to support him as Taoiseach after the 2007 General Election.

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Mr Sargent, then the leader of the Green Party, made the claim in a newspaper interview.

Speaking on RTÉ News at One, Mr Sargent repeated his claim, and said that at the time, he told Mr Kenny that it was a matter for the Fine Gael leader to talk to Sinn Féin.

Mr Sargent told a news conference this afternoon that he could not see what was in it for Sinn Féin, as Fine Gael was not offering a deal on policy or positions in Government.

He said he mentioned it 'casually' to the Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

Mr Sargent said the only way he could rationalise it was that Mr Kenny must have had an experience in the Ballrooms of Romance in Mayo, when he asked someone 'would you ask your sister would she go out with me'.

Mr Kenny said today that he did not seek Sinn Féin support indirectly.

He pointed out that if he had been prepared to do business with Sinn Féin in 2007, he would have been Taoiseach for the last two years.

He said the Greens were 'in desperation and are floundering around clutching at straws'.

Mr Kenny insisted today that Fine Gael would not go into coalition with Sinn Féin and that it would not have a pact with any party before the next General Election.

The Fine Gael leader was speaking at his final news conference of the local, European and bye-election campaign, at which he said the only way to guarantee a change of Government was to vote for his party.

Adams quiet on Sargent claims

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has refused to comment on the claims.

Speaking at his party's final news conference of the campaign, Mr Adams said he would not comment on what he called the ridiculous things said during the campaign.

Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party will conclude their campaigns this afternoon.

Elsewhere, Fine Gael bye-election candidate in Dublin South George Lee has denied that he is to switch constituencies to Dún Laoghaire at the next General Election.

Mr Lee said he had received a fantastic response from voters in Dublin South, saying 'why would i want to move?'.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has said Friday's elections are not just about delivering a verdict on the Government, but about beginning the work of national recovery.

Mr Gilmore said the result would create the momentum for political change and that political change is required for economic recovery.

He said that the voice of the people cannot be ignored.

Asked about the latest Exchequer figures, Mr Gilmore said people have learned to treat very cautiously Fianna Fáil promises or economic forecasts a few days before an election.

He said the tax returns people were concerned about were the huge tax increase Fianna Fáil had taken from them in this month's pay cheque.

Responding to questions about the dispute between Fine Gael and the Greens over contacts with Sinn Féin, Mr Gilmore said he had made it the habit of a lifetime not to get involved in other people's rows.

Asked if the issue of Sinn Féin support for an alternative government had been raised after the last election, he said not to his knowledge.

At stake on Friday are the two vacant Dáil seats in Dublin Central and Dublin South, 12 seats in the European Parliament and 1,627 local authority places.

Voters will elect 130 city councillors, 753 county councillors, 60 borough councillors and 684 town councillors.