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Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin agree to enter historic coalition on basis of 'full and equal partnership'


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

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

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

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar have agreed a policy framework document which will pave the way to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael entering into government.

Following a meeting on Tuesday, the two leaders agreed to work towards forming a majority government for five years but only on the basis it will involve at least three parties.

They also agreed they would enter into coalition on “full and equal partnership”.

It was agreed that the policy framework document will be the basis for a programme for government.

The document which has been developed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail negotiating teams will not be sent to their parliamentary parties.

It will then be sent to smaller parties and independents interested in entering into government.

Meanwhile, a set of ten priorities set out by a Fine Gael reference group insists any deal with Fianna Fail must “consider how local property tax can be better used by councils”.

The group, led by Communications Minister Richard Bruton, also says the new government must increase the power of councillors and finds ways to streamline the planning system to prevent delays in construction.

Changing how property tax is spent by local authorities is one of the key priorities of Fine Gael in government negotiations with Fianna Fáil.

It also says the parties must develop a “dynamic and reforming public service” which is monitored using scorecards.

It says the public service must operate with “real accountability” and have an “appropriate relationship to the political system”.

The group says any government deal should involve a “new social contract” which embraces all communities and “responds to the new risks and costs of living which are creating concern in people’s lives”.

It also calls for “fairness and equality of opportunity so everyone is given a chance to fulfil their potential, particularly those with disabilities to overcome”.

“In particular it will include a clear contract for the young who have borne many burdens in recent years,” it adds.

On health, it says Slainte Care should be “re-evaluated” to determine the gains made from the project while also committing to “retaining positive changes” implemented in the health service during the Covid-19 emergency.

The group says the next government should strengthen “early years support to children by combining better early intervention, development of skills and leadership in the sector, and ensuring high standards and affordability”.

It also says Fine Gael should develop a strategy to ensure Ireland can deliver net zero emissions by 2050 as part of the European Green Deal. The group also insists on a new action plan for jobs in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.