Uncertainty over the make-up of the next government was dominant in Ireland as the general election count continued Sunday.

With 109 seats out of 158 filled, governing Fine Gael was on course to be slightly ahead of opposition Fianna Fail, despite suffering major losses.

Speculation shifted from possible coalitions to talk of fresh elections, as a grand coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail looked unlikely.

"We may all be back here again very shortly," outgoing finance minister Michael Noonan said, speaking inside an election count centre Sunday morning.

"We advised all of our candidates to stay on election footing," Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said after being re-elected.

"Sinn Fein will not prop up a centre-right government with Fine Gael or Fianna Fail," said Sinn Fein’s Eoin O’Broin, who was elected in the constituency of Dublin Mid-West.

Fianna Fail front-bench spokesman Timmy Dooley said the party's voters would be "betrayed" if it entered into coalition with Fine Gael.

He indicated that the party might negotiate with independents and smaller parties. Such "negotiations would be far more difficult because you are dealing with disparate groupings but it would be far more fruitful in the long run," the newly-elected representative for Clare in the West of Ireland said.

Independents and smaller parties have had a very good election with 29 per cent of the vote so far.

Fine Gael is on 25.5 per cent, Fianna Fail is at 24.3 per cent and republican Sinn Fein has 13.8 per cent of the vote.

Stable administration was "imperative", outgoing Taoiseach, or prime minister, Enda Kenny said late Saturday, after confirming that his centre-right Fine Gael and Labour would not be returning to government.

He refused to talk about whether his party would enter into a coalition with Fianna Fail, saying he would wait until all of the results were in and he would have to talk to his junior coalition party.

Labour was punished severely in the polls, dropping to 6.6 per cent from 19.4 in the 2011 election.

Under Ireland's electoral system of proportional representation, in which voters rank candidates by preference, counts can take a long time. With several recounts requested, final official results will not be available until Monday.

Negotiations about the next government are not expected to start until then.

Related stories

No new Irish government in sight as hung parliament opens

Exit poll: Ireland governing coalition to lose majority

Exit polls: Irish ruling parties fall well short of majority

No clear winner expected in Irish general elections

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.