A deal for a new government needs to be reached within the next few days, a Fianna Fail TD has said.
Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party are continuing their talks on government formation, with party leaders also speaking to groups of independent TDs to try to secure their support.
It has been 118 days since February’s inconclusive general election.
Fianna Fail TD Michael McGrath, who is on the party’s negotiating team for the talks, said a deal for a new government needs to be reached ahead of the deadline at the end of June when some legislation is due to lapse.
Not having a government with the capacity to legislate has a real costMichael McGrath, Fianna Fail TD
He said party members must vote to approve the deal and admitted there is concern among grassroots members about forming a coalition with Fine Gael.
Mr McGrath told RTE radio: “We are having extensive engagement with councillors and there are different views but I can tell you one thing. We will not be taking the support of our members for granted. Our party is built on the support of our members, so their say is crucial.”
He added: “If we do manage to agree a draft programme for government, it will probably be the largest exercise of democracy within a political party that has happened in this state.
“Thousands of members will have the final say as to whether Fianna Fail will enter government.
“We are now entering week four of these negotiations – we have days and not weeks to go in order to complete this.
“Not having a government with the capacity to legislate has a real cost.
“It has a real cost in relation to the type of supports that need to be put in place and can only be put in place through legislation.”
Asked if a deal could be put in place by next week, Mr McGrath said: “I think it needs to be.
The country needs a new government and it needs it soonMichael McGrath
“The reality for us as a party is that we need at least 10 days to go through the process and giving our members a vote which is their right under our rules.
“If you take the last week of June as the deadline for having a government then that is a reasonable deadline.
“A deal needs to be done next week – we have days, not weeks and Fianna Fail remains committed to doing all we can to get this over the line. The country needs a new government and it needs it soon.”