Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Coalition talks put focus on economy

Coalition negotiation teams from the two winning parties in the Irish election have spent their opening day of talks going through up-to-date economic briefings.

The prospective government parties — Fine Gael and Labour — have until this weekend to thrash out a deal on a new coalition as counting continues.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore curtly dismissed suggestions his party's old guard desperately wanted to get into government as they had only one last shot at power.

And he said his party would go into opposition if the talks did not work out.

The two biggest parties in the next Dail have until this weekend to agree on the policies make-up of the new government.

The negotiators are understood to have received briefings from the Department of Finance on the current and projected state of the Republic’s public finances.

The briefings also covered the current state of the Irish banking sector.

The key sticking point between the two parties is expected to be on economic policy, where there are a lot of differences between the prospective coalition.

Mr Gilmore said: “That will be one of the issues under discussion. Everybody has a fair idea where the points of difference are in terms of policy.”

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