The leader of Fianna Fail has refused to be drawn on whether he or Leo Varadkar will be Taoiseach of the next government.
The two parties signed off on a joint framework document on Wednesday that will be given to smaller parties this week in a bid to convince them to join a coalition government with them.
Micheal Martin said he and Mr Varadkar, who are fierce political rivals, have a broad understanding on a range of issues and have respect for each other.
When asked who would get to be Taoiseach in the next government, Mr Martin refused to be drawn and said there is no agreement between them.
The Dail is more fragmented than it has ever been historically and that demands that people have to engage and have an obligation to form a government. The country needs a governmentMicheal Martin
Speaking to RTE radio, he said: “We have a broad understanding on a whole range of issues and the more fundamental one being the philosophy and orientation of the government and the orientation it should take. Those issues… we will approach when we see there is prospect of a government being formed.”
When pressed on who would get to be Taoiseach first, he said: “We have a broad understanding on many issues… I’m not going any further than that. It is not about personalities, it is about the content and subject matter of the programme for government.
“Can we get a significant majority of people in Dail Eireann behind a coherent programme for government that can take us through this emergency and enable the country to recover?
“The Dail is more fragmented than it has ever been historically and that demands that people have to engage and have an obligation to form a government. The country needs a government.
“We are in extraordinary times, people are very worried out there and they are very concerned about their health, jobs, incomes and mortgages. In my view that means that we need a solution to try and take the country through.”
When asked if the smaller parties refuse to go into coalition with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, he would consider a national government, he said: “A national government becomes an internal auction process very quickly and becomes a recipe for indecision and lack of coherence. Nothing has changed my mind on that.”
Mr Martin said it is not feasible to hold a postal vote to allow members to vote on whether a deal between his party and Fine Gael should form a coalition.
Under Fianna Fail party rules, it has to hold a special ard fheis (conference) of its 20,000 party members to approve going into a coalition.
Mr Martin said a third party is needed to complete the government but the deal must also be voted through by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail grassroots party membership.
“That presents challenges giving the prevalence of Covid-19 emergency but we will be engaging with all levels of the party and consulting with all levels of the party. We have already been doing that. Our councillors have been given a copy of the document and I have been speaking to every single councillor in the country.
Asked if there will be a postal vote for members, he said: “That’s very challenging. We don’t think that is feasible at this stage but we are looking and trying to devise other ways.
“Covid-19 rules out large gatherings so that is something that is exercising us at the moment.”
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he is open to looking at the joint framework document but he wants to see more detail.
Speaking at Leinster House on Thursday, he said: “The key questions we will be asking is what is the detail behind the aspiration.
“Let’s be ambitious and precise and clear in our ambitions.
“You work with people, you work with everyone. There is no point in me saying you have to be ambitious on climate and then the next thing giving someone a good kick. The job of politicians is to work hard and aim high.
“We’re going to be careful, we’re not going to rush in… we will ask questions.”
Mr Ryan said at this stage, his preferred option of a national unity government that would include all parties is not possible.
“We’re not getting a positive response from the other parties on that so that forces us to look at other options.”