Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parliamentary groups have both backed a joint framework document for a potential coalition government.
The document contains 10 key “pillars” and puts a particular focus on reviving the economy in the wake of the coronavirus emergency.
With party leaders Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin having signed off on the blueprint on Tuesday, on Wednesday evening members of their respective parliamentary parties convened remotely to discuss the proposals.
During the exchanges, the elected representatives from both parties ultimately gave their approval.
Fianna FÃ¡il and Fine Gaelâs document promises to set up a unit to work towards a consenus on a âunited island.â— Ãine McMahon (@AineMcMahon) April 15, 2020
It includes a pledge to build a high speed cross border rail service. pic.twitter.com/TxM9EJ0AcV
The latest step in the process of forming a new government comes more than two months after February’s inconclusive general election.
Fine Gael leader Mr Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Mr Martin will now try to convince another party to joint what would be a historic coalition involving Ireland’s two traditional main parties.
They will approach the leaders of the Green Party, the Labour Party and the Social Democrats and also a group of Independent TDs.
The pillars are of the policy document are – reigniting and renewing the economy; universal healthcare; housing for all; a new social contract; a new green deal; a better quality of life for all; supporting young Ireland; opportunities through education and research; a shared island; at the heart of Europe: global citizenship.
The document states the two parties’ focus “is to improve the well-being of the Irish people and society”.
It states: “In achieving this, the immediate challenge for us is to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the Covid-19 emergency, and the havoc that it has brought to the lives of people and to the social and economic security of families.
“Beyond this, our focus is to respond decisively to the agenda of change in terms of housing, health, climate action and quality of life, which came through so clearly from the general election.
“To assess the performance of a new government, we must look beyond economic indicators.
“We will create new, credible, quality-of-life measures of individual and societal well-being and progress.”
Fianna Fail negotiator Michael McGrath said the document sets out a number of “key missions” that an incoming government will need to deal with.
“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 told RTE Radio One earlier 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,” he told Newstalk.
“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.”