Fianna Fáil TDs have elected Micheál Martin as the party's eighth leader.

The Finance Bill Committee stage has been passed in the Dáil.

Watch | Follow on Twitter: @RTE_Elections | @RTENews


1911 The Dáil debate on the Finance Bill has adjourned for the night after the Bill passed the committee stage.

The report and final stage of the Bill will be taken tomorrow morning.

A meeting between the political parties will take place tomorrow morning before 10.30am to draw up the schedule for the remaining stage.

It looks likely that the members of the House will debate the legislation until about 5pm tomorrow.

The Bill will then go the Seanad which will consider the measures on Friday and Saturday.

1857 Around 20 members of People Before Profit have staged a protest outside the Dáil.

The demonstration was lead by Councillor and General Election Candidate Richard Boyd Barrett.

They are calling for the Finance Bill to be scrapped and for a general all-out strike as a response to the Government's economic management.

1836 David McCullagh: One of the reported concessions secured by Independents Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy Rae was already contained in the Finance Bill.

In his statement saying he was supporting the Bill, Mr Lowry said the Government had agreed to allow for tax relief for parents paying registration fees for second and subsequent college students.

However, it appears this had already been agreed and was to be in the Finance Bill anyway.

1834 Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One Micheál Martin said the biggest mistake Fianna Fáil made was not to stand back from the general consensus.

‘Fianna Fáil went too far, and reduced taxes too much,’ he said.

1815 Full text of Micheál Martin's speech

1750 As the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill continues in the Dáil, Labour's Joan Burton has submitted an amendment to the Finance Bill which would bring thousands of wealthy tax exiles into the tax net.

She told the House that before the last Budget the Government had said that the first contribution from tax exiles would be brought in by October 2011.

Her amendment called on the Government to lay before the House, a report on the contribution to the exchequer in respect of tax exiles.

She said this information is not forthcoming from the Government.

1727 Bryan Dobson: We expect to have new leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin for a live interview on Six One News

1717 Asked about the whereabouts of Enda Kenny, Fine Gael's Frank Flannery says in the coming weeks 'you will see so much of Enda Kenny you will be marvelling at it'.

1705 Brian Dowling: Micheál Martin can certainly sell a message much better than his predecessor Brian Cowen.

1659 Mr Martin says he will appoint a frontbench, deputy leader and director of elections 'very shortly,' but not today.

1655 Asked if he would like a three or a four week campaign, Micheál Martin said the country 'needs a serious campaign' and debate.

He said four weeks would be a good timeframe to deal with the serious issues which are facing the country.

'We are facing the most difficult campaign since the foundation of Fianna Fáil.'

1653 Micheál Martin: 'Mistakes were made, and I'm very sorry that they were. But equally, some very significant achievements have been made.'

1649 'There is no credible recovery for our country without tackling the financial deficit.'

1640 'The empty slogans of the left and right will never deliver for the people of Ireland.' - Micheál Martin

'With the right policies Ireland will and can come through the current crisis.'

1645 He said political parties had competed with each other in the areas of tax cuts and spending.

'The political system failed us' Mr Martin says.

1643 'I have already written to Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore asking them ... to agree to hold three debates between us three, one at the beginning and one at the end of the election campaign.' - Micheál Martin.

16.39 Mr Martin said under his leadership Fianna Fáil will be clear in its approach to the urgent issues of the day.

16.36 Micheál Martin has said all candidates promoted a positive message and thanked 'Brian, Eamon and Mary'.

He said it was a great honour for him to be elected leader.

1629 Press conference with new Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin about to start. Watch it live here

1626 Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has said: 'I want to congratulate Micheál Martin on his election as the eighth leader of Fianna Fáil.

'Micheál is a highly experienced and capable politician. He has, of course, my complete support as the party leader.

'I want to thank all my colleagues in the parliamentary party who showed me so much courtesy and good will during this contest.

'We must now concentrate on the forthcoming election. Fianna Fáil will now unite behind the new leader and bring our case to the people.'

1620 In a statement, former leader of Fianna Fáil, Taoiseach Brian Cowen has extended his congratulations to Micheál Martin.

‘I want to offer my best wishes to Micheál today on his election as leader of Fianna Fail.

‘I have told Micheál he has my full support in his new role and I wish him he very best in the immediate task of leading the party into the election.

‘Micheál Martin is a politician of accomplishment and achievement and he has ll the right credentials to be a very successful leader of our party.

‘I believe Micheál has proven in his various ministerial roles over the years that he has the essential leadership qualities of focused determination, stamina, collegiality and integrity, which will enable him to become a great Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party.

‘I wish Micheál the very best of luck.

‘Today is also a very proud today for the Martin family. I want to extend my best wishes to Micheál's wife Mary and family.’

1615 Leaving Leinster House on his way to a news conference a short time ago, Micheál Martin told RTÉ News the General Election 'would be a very challenging time and a very tough campaign.'

1602 Mr Martin's constituency colleague in Cork South Central Michael McGrath has welcomed the former minister's election.

Mr McGrath said it represents a fresh start for the party and a tremendous opportunity for Fianna Fáil to go into the election with renewed enthusiasm.

1556 The Micheál Martin news conference will be carried on RTÉ One and RTÉ.ie/live from 1625

1548 Watch a profile of Micheál Martin

1542 A leading bookmaker has just released odds on who will be the NEXT leader of Fianna Fáil: 4/1 Calleary, 5/1 Andrews, 7/1 Byrne, 8/1 Lenihan.

1535 David Davin Power: It is understood that Micheál Martin was elected after three counts and that the runner up was Éamon Ó Cuív.

The first count figures were Martin 33, Ó Cuív 15, Lenihan 14 and Hanafin 10.

After Ms Hanafin's elimination and the distribution of her votes, Mr Lenihan and Mr Ó Cuív were level but the Finance minister was eliminated on the basis of having had a lower first count figure.

1533 Billy Kelleher has called for 'the people of Ireland to row in behind the new leader of Fianna Fail.'

'Micheal Martin will be a great leader for Fianna Fáail. He is the second Corkman to hold such a position and just like Jack Lynch he will take the party to new heights over the next 10 years.'

1526 Micheál Martin will be giving a news conference at 4.30pm in the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery.

1525 The Dail has passed all outstanding amendments in Part 2 of the Finance Bill, by 81 votes to 79.

1524 See a guide to the stages the Finance Bill must pass through

1514 David Davin Power: It is understood that the candidates will decide whether details of the Fianna Fáil voting figures will be released.

Fianna Fáil sources are indicating Mr Martin won by a substantial margin

1511 Micheál Martin is now seated in the Dáil for a vote on the Finance Bill.

A number of deputies have been shaking hands and congratulating him while waiting for the vote to take place.

1501 Micheál Martin has been elected as the eighth leader of Fianna Fáil.

Mr Martin was selected by deputies at a meeting of the parliamentary party this afternoon.

Ahead of the vote the Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the party needed to remain united and he said he would offer whatever support he could to his successor.

Mr Cowen's speech was given a standing ovation by those present.

1450 Counting is underway in the Fianna Fáil leadership election.

1444 Voting is nearly complete in the Fianna Fáil leadership contest.

1434 Voting has just started at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting to elect a new leader. This follows a five minute break due to a request for a Dáil quorum.

Former leader Brian Cowen addressed the meeting at the beginning and was given a standing ovation after concluding his speech.

1409 David McCullagh: The electorate in the Fianna Fáil leadership contest is 72; 26 of whom have already declared publicly for front runner Micheal Martin.

But the vote is a secret ballot and some pledges may not translate into votes.

However the former Minister for Foreign Affairs is likely to pick up sufficient numbers of those who've so far kept their intentions to themselves to see him over the line.

1402 Bryan Dobson (@bryansixone): We hope to have a live interview with the new leader of Fianna Fáil on Six One News this evening.

1345 The vote on the Finance Committee Stage (sections 1-38) has been carried by 80 - 78

A number of opposition TDs criticised the time set aside to debate the amendments.

'It is clear that the rush (on the Finance Bill) is to facilitate the Fianna Fáil leadership election at 2pm,' states Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty before being cut off.

The Committee Stage continues.

13:07 David McCullagh: Members of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party have said there is 'a lot' of lobbying going on for leadership candidate Éamon Ó Cuív, and that supporters of the Taoiseach are rowing in behind him.

One parliamentarian said if the argument was about who would be best to rebuild the party, through visiting every constituency in the country, Mr Ó Cuív might have the edge.

However, most observers still believe that Micheal Martin is far enough ahead to secure victory.

1257 Fine Gael's Finance Spokesman Michael Noonan says that tax breaks are an important method to help encourage development.

1256 Labour Finance Spokesperson Joan Bruton is seeking debate on an amendment relating to bank bonuses.

1242 Bryan Dobson: We're standing by to go live on RTÉ One TV with the result of the FF leadership vote. FF PP meets at 2pm at Leinster House.

1240 The Finance Bill has now gone to Committee Stage after passing Second Stage in the House.

1237 The vote on the financial resolutions has been carried by 81 to 76. This is a technical requirement which has to be fulfilled before Committee Stage on the Finance Bill can start.

1230 Following the division, the margin was 80 - 77. Independent Mattie McGrath abstained.

1221 Fine Gael has called for walk through vote on the amendments.

1220 David McCullagh: The Govt had a majority of two. Only four TDs were not present for the vote - Fine Gael gave pairs to two Government TDs who are ill, Dermot Ahern and Noel Treacy.

Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin voted against the Government, as did four Independents - Noel Grealish, Maureen O'Sullivan, Finian McGrath and Mattie McGrath.

Fianna Fáil, the Greens, and Independents Mary Harney, Joe Behan, Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy Rae backed the measure.

1214 The Govt wins the first vote on the Finance Bill amendments by 80 to 78.

1200 Concluding the second stage debate on the Finance Bill, the Minister for Finance said the enactment of the legislation was 'vital for Ireland's international reputation.'

Brian Lenihan also confirmed that he'll be bringing forward an amendment to bring in a tax on bankers bonuses at committee stage of the bill.

The pay and file deadline will not now be brought forward. Mr Lenihan told the Dáil that Michael Lowry had raised the subject with him and outlined the 'harsh treatment' of the self employed.

The Finance Minister also said he will consider changes to the threshold to which the USC applies

1155 David McCullagh: The Finance Bill is set to be passed, after Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy Rae indicated they will support it.

The news came after a day of negotiations with the Minister for Finance- the vote is due to take place in the next few minutes.

1152 Mr Lowry has told RTÉ News during a meeting with the Taoiseach and the Finance Minister that the Government agreed to concede to a number of his requests.

Mr Lowry said that the Government also agreed not to bring forward the pay and file deadline of 30 September.

1149 Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Ray will support the Finance Bill.

1147 Fine Gael whip Paul Kehoe has told RTÉ News that a three line whip is in place for the vote on the Finance Bill - any deputy that doesn't turn up to vote 'will be in big trouble'.

The party has given pairs for two Fianna Fáil TDs who are ill - Dermot Ahern and Noel Treacy - but apart from that all Fine Gael deputies are expected to vote against the Bill.

1144 Mattie McGrath said the bill was being rushed through the House with too much haste - 'there is no time for proper debate'.

'I am not putting local politics before national politics.'

He also said he was very disappointed that the promised 90% tax on bankers' bonuses was not included in the bill, he said this was totally unfair.

'I am appalled that no banker has been brought to justice.'

1139 David McCullagh: This debate has seen many farewell speeches from TDs who are retiring, including Ned O'Keeffe - who criticised the ‘three musketeers’ (the Independents) - saying he hoped no future Government would have to depend on their support.

1131 In the last few minutes, the Independent TD Mattie McGrath began addressing the Dáil - but did not say which way he would vote.

1129 David McCullagh: As the debate on the Finance Bill continues, convassing is also taking place in the Fianna Fáil leadership contest.

Following the readmission to the parliamentary party of Jimmy Devins - 72 TDs will be entitled to vote on Brian Cowen's successor.

The meeting gets underway at 2pm, and a result is expected in the early afternoon.

1121 A spokesperson for the Government Chief Whip has told RTÉ News that he remains hopeful that the second stage of the Finance Bill can be passed in a vote at midday.

'Discussions are continuing between the Minister for Finance and various Independents in an effort to see if they could support the Bill.'

1119 Lucinda Creighton told the Dáil she welcomed the Finance Bill but disagreed with 'some elements' of it - namely, the Universal Social Charge.

'The legislation lacks measures to stimulate economic growth and it is clear the government has run out of ideas.'

She said the universal social charge was a blunt instrument. While she welcomed the changes made to medical card holders, she said it was extremely regrettable that the self employed were to be burdened further.

1112 David Davin Power: Deputy O'Keeffe told the Dáil that Fianna Fáil had become 'a party of racehorse owners' and needed to turn away from the sport of kings and return to its roots.

The Cork East TD also complained about the Government being held to ransom by Independent deputies over what he termed 'petty matters'.

1105 Fine Gael TD John Deasy accused Fianna Fáil TDs of confusing the self-interest of Fianna Fáil with the national interest.

He said people had become 'sick' of listening to Fianna Fáil talking about themselves on the radio.

1101 Ned O'Keefe, who is retiring at the next election, has paid tribute to the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in his final contribution - telling him he had done wonderful things as leader of Fine Gael and said an overall majority might be in his grasp.

He said he had served under four leaders of Fianna Fáil and described Charles Haughey as the 'brightest and the best'.

1100 David McCullagh: If, as expected, a vote on the Second Stage on the Finance Bill is called at 12 noon, the Division Bells will be rung for six minutes, and then after a further four minutes the doors into the Chamber will be locked and the vote taken.

1050 In his comments to the House, Fianna Fáil TD Michael Kennedy welcomed the changes announced by the Minister to the Universal Social Charge and its application to medical card holders.

He said he believed a review of the Section 23 property relief was needed as 'it wasn't just large developers who had availed of the measure,'

1048 Minister Pat Carey has appealed to the three Independents to 'put the country's interests ahead of any other concerns they may have.'

1041 Arriving at the Dáil this morning, Sinn Féin deputy Pearse Doherty said Independents are just posturing over the bill and engaged in 'gombeen politics'.

'The Labour Party is engaging 'economic treason by facilitating the Finance Bill.'

1033 David McCullagh (@mcculld): Second stage debate on Finance Bill resumed. FG's Padraig McCormack delivering his final speech to Dail before retirement.

1038 Independent TD Michael Lowry is due to meet the Taoiseach around now to discuss his concerns about the Finance Bill.

Mr Lowry - who also speaks for Independent Jackie Healy-Ray - has previously said he may not back the bill unless changes are made to measures concerning self-employed tax return date, tax relief on third level fees and the universal social charge.

Speaking on his way into Leinster House, Mr Lowry said that Labour and Fine Gael are being hypocritical by saying it is essential to pass the finance bill and then oppose it.

1030 TDs are back in the chamber to conclude statements on the Finance Bill.