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Greens to enter government formation talks with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael

The talks are to be focused on developing a programme for government.

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Green Party is to enter government formation talks with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

The talks have been described as aimed at developing a programme for government.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan is set to seek a meeting with the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael leadership to start the process

Following February’s inconclusive election, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are courting the Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats as potential junior partners in a three or four-party coalition.

Any proposal must be transformative on climate action and commit to strong progress towards a more sustainable and fairer societyGreen Party

The Greens’ pre-condition of only entering a government committed to a 7% reduction in carbon emissions has emerged as a potential deal breaker.

In a statement on Sunday the Greens said they will work to develop a deal that “respects our mandate”.

The party said any potential programme for government will require the support of two thirds of their voting membership.

“We are conscious of the huge challenges facing any government in the Covid-19 crisis,” the statement said.

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (left) alongside deputy leader Catherine Martin and party candidate Joe O’Brien (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (left) alongside deputy leader Catherine Martin and party candidate Joe O’Brien (Brian Lawless/PA)

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (left) alongside deputy leader Catherine Martin and party candidate Joe O’Brien (Brian Lawless/PA)

“The party will now work with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to develop a deal that respects our mandate with a view to presenting that agreement to Green Party members for approval.

“Green Party approval of any programme for government will require support of two thirds of the Green Party voting membership.

“Any proposal must be transformative on climate action and commit to strong progress towards a more sustainable and fairer society.

“If this is not the case, Green Party representatives will withdraw from negotiations and pursue their mandate in opposition and work to hold the Government to account.”

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar both welcomed the announcement.

Sinn Fein TD Matt Carthy described a Government comprising Fianna Fail and Fine Gael as “not representing change” while People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith claimed the Greens decision was a “historic mistake that would lead to the betrayal of the Climate Action movement”.

Mr Martin said he is confident the three parties will be able to “negotiate and agree a Programme for Government that protects people and ensures that the country’s economic recovery after Covid-19 is commenced as soon as possible and built on fairness”.

“There is important legislation that needs to be passed to allow Irish businesses to access finance and there needs to be a government in place to do this,” he said.

Mr Varadkar, who remains in place as Taoiseach until a new Government is formed, said his party looks forward to “constructive discussions” in the coming days.

“Ireland needs a stable Government to manage the remainder of the Covid emergency and to rebuild and renew our society and economy over the next five years,” he said.

“We are also very aware that a hard Brexit within six months is a distinct possibility with all the challenges that would bring.

“We look forward to the forthcoming Programme for Government negotiations and believe that together our three parties can develop a programme that will deliver for the Irish people.”

PA