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Parties hold first round of formal government formation talks

Officials from Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens met in Dublin.

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Leo Varadkar said it is unlikely a government will be formed until at least June (Niall Carson/PA)

Leo Varadkar said it is unlikely a government will be formed until at least June (Niall Carson/PA)

Leo Varadkar said it is unlikely a government will be formed until at least June (Niall Carson/PA)

The first round of formal government formation talks have taken place between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens.

Negotiating teams from the three parties met in Dublin on Thursday afternoon for an initial meeting.

They will meet again at regular intervals in the days and weeks ahead in what could be a lengthy process of hammering out an agreed programme for government.

The parties issued brief and near identical statements at the end of the first meeting.

“We hope this will be the first of many meetings and all parties have agreed to keep this process confidential until it is completed,” they all stated.

The formal talks convened after the Greens said they secured a commitment from the two larger parties to work toward a target of reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions by 7% over the next decade.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail had previously presented a framework to several of the smaller parties, and a number of independent TDs, in a bid to secure junior coalition partners in their planned historic alliance.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said it is unlikely a government will be formed until June at the earliest.

If and when the negotiators agree a programme for government the membership of the respective parties will have to approve the deal before any coalition can be formed.

Following February’s inconclusive general election, Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail both have 37 seats in the Dail and Fine Gael has 35. The Greens have 12.

A government needs 80 seats for a majority in the Dail.

In the wake of the election, Sinn Fein, which won the popular vote, had attempted to form a left-leaning government with like-minded parties and independent TDs but could not secure the numbers to reach the 80-seat threshold.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have repeatedly ruled out going into government with Sinn Fein.

On Wednesday, Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett urged Sinn Fein to attempt to rekindle efforts to form a left-wing administration.

PA