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Ahern, McDowell to hold further conciliation talks today

Published 09/10/2006

The Taoiseach and the Tanaiste are due to hold further talks today aimed at clearing up the issues that almost led to the collapse of the Government last week.

There had been intense speculation that Michael McDowell and the Progressive Democrats would withdraw from the coalition due to the controversy surrounding payments to Bertie Ahern in the 1990s.

The speculation followed the revelation that Mr Ahern had bought his house from one of the businessmen who attended the infamous Manchester function where he received an €8,000 "gift" in 1994.

Mr McDowell was said to be furious that he had not been informed of this, but he later said the PDs were committed to remaining in government with Fianna Fail.

The two sides have been holding a series of talks to clear the air over the matter, with reports this morning saying the PDs are seeking changes to ethics legislation to cover the issue of loans and gifts to senior politicians.

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