A group of eight Independent TDs are now effectively urging Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to form a Government.

The Regional Independent Group met separately with both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael today.

The very early indications suggest that this group could ultimately provide some support for such a coalition.

There were few policy differences detected in the meetings and there was a general sense that swift progress had been made.

The eight TDs include former ministers Denis Naughten, Michael Lowry and outgoing Junior Minister Sean Canney along with Noel Grealish, Matt Shanahan, Verona Murphy Peter Fitzpatrick and Cathal Berry.

The ninth member of the group, Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín met with Micheál Martin but not Leo Varadkar.

But he did say it was important that the process of Government formation was speeded up significantly.

Should the group, or a large part of it at least, offer some kind of backing for the perspective coalition it would boost its chances of coming to fruition.

It would also take some of the burden off the Greens.

At the moment they are the central part of any equation that would bring Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael together.

And it could give any new coalition a better chance of lasting a full term.

It's early days though and right now Fine Gael is not moving an inch and it is still encouraging Fianna Fáil to talk to others.

There remains a fear in Fine Gael that Micheál Martin could still come under pressure in a few weeks time, from the wider Fianna Fáil party, to consider Sinn Féin.

All this despite his repeated unambiguous and resolute words on the subject.

Fine Gael may also wait and see just how far those talks between the Green Party and Sinn Féin progress, before it formally enters the negotiation phase "as a last resort."