The Social Democrats tonight ruled out participation in a minority government led by either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said the party had come to the conclusion that the current exercise of both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael talking to smaller parties and Independents is only postponing the inevitable.

"It is clear there is no possibility of either a majority or a minority government without some agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and we would actively encourage the two parties to accept that reality.

"Any discussions regarding policies are meaningless until Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have made a decision about whether or not they can work together in some form of arrangement."

Independent TDs hold 'constructive' talks with FG

Meanwhile, a group of five independent TDs who held talks with Fine Gael today described the talks as constructive.

The talks involved Denis Naughten, Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Dr Michael Harty and Michael Collins.

Elsewhere, Fine Gael minister Simon Coveney met with some members of the Independent Alliance in Athlone this evening.

Earlier, Fianna Fail met with the Social Democrats and the Green Party.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are both to hold further talks tomorrow with independents and smaller parties and groups.

The Independent Alliance is holding discussions with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael while the group of five independents will hold separate talks with Fianna Fáil.