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Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parliamentary parties to discuss policy document

The two parliamentary parties are to be briefed on the policy document.

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael’s parliamentary parties will hold separate meetings later today to sign off the details for the joint blueprint for government.

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar reached agreement on Tuesday following weeks of talks.

The two parliamentary parties will be briefed on the policy document on Wednesday ahead of engagement with other potential coalition partners.

Following the conclusion of the parliamentary parties, Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin will together approach other party leaders of the Green Party, the Labour Party and the Social Democrats.

The document will be shared with the other parties and the group of Independent TDs.

Fianna Fail’s negotiator, Michael McGrath, said the document sets out a number of “key missions” that an incoming government will need to deal with.

Speaking to RTE Morning Ireland, he said: “First and foremost being, of course, dealing with the enormous economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, the preparation of a national economic recovery plan, but also drawing on the lessons from the general election and dealing with the issues that people demand.”

He said the issues include affordable housing and universal access to health care.

He added: “It also sets out a renewed focus on quality-of-life issues, on wellbeing and, critically, from a Fianna Fail perspective, it again reaffirms the vital importance of our education system, of the legitimate aspiration of working towards Irish unity and reaffirming our role as a country that is fully committed to the European Union, and dealing with the challenges that will emerge again from the Brexit negotiations.

“It’s a foundation document which will be the basis of discussion on a programme for government.

“It’s not a programme for government, but it is the basis we believe of a negotiation that could ultimately lead to one, and we want other parties now to join us in that process with a view to meeting the enormous challenges that have been presented by the health crisis that we’re still grappling with.”

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Fianna Fail negotiator Michael McGrath said the document sets out a number of ‘key missions’ an incoming government will need to deal with (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail negotiator Michael McGrath said the document sets out a number of ‘key missions’ an incoming government will need to deal with (Niall Carson/PA)

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Fianna Fail negotiator Michael McGrath said the document sets out a number of ‘key missions’ an incoming government will need to deal with (Niall Carson/PA)

He said that the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parliamentary party members will receive a copy of the document later on Wednesday.

Asked whether Mr Martin will become the next Taoiseach, Mr McGrath said it was “not an issue” that was discussed by the negotiating teams.

He added: “We are a long way off the formation of a government yet because we need others to join us in that discussion and that is an issue that I’m sure has been discussed by the party leaders, and they will address that at the appropriate time, but it’s not the priority issue for us know.”

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is a “no brainer” but that a lot more work needs to be done in order to form a stable coalition.

“We need to move on and see if we can form a government. It has been over two months since the election. I believe it is a no brainer. I very much welcome the proposed deal between the two historic foes.

“There will be an equality of authority between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. There will be an equality of ministers because parties will be entering this historic agreement and doing so on the basis of equality.”

Speaking to Newstalk FM, he said: “There is a lot of work to be done here. All we have is a framework and a handshake. We have to ensure flesh is put on the bones of the deal.”

When asked about who could potentially lose their seat at Cabinet, he said: “These issues have not been the subject of discussion and I don’t think it is appropriate to get into the personalities of it.

“In fact the idea that any particular party leader might go first or second – these issues have not been discussed. They are just the subject of speculation at this stage.”

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