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Party members will have to accept compromises, says Bruton

It has been 121 days since the general election saw Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein return almost equal numbers.

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Richard Bruton (Aine McMahon/PA)

Richard Bruton (Aine McMahon/PA)

Richard Bruton (Aine McMahon/PA)

The membership of all parties will need to accept compromise due to the downturn in the economy, in order to secure a government deal in the coming days, a Fine Gael minister has said.

It has been 121 days since the general election saw Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein return almost equal numbers, with no government yet formed.

Negotiators from Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party have been meeting for the past four weeks in order to agree a draft government deal.

There has been speculation that a deal could be announced on Thursday, but the pension age, carbon emissions, agriculture and housing are believed to be among the final sticking points.

Climate Minister Richard Bruton said if a government deal is agreed this week, the membership of all parties will have to see the need for compromise on policies due to the state of the economy.

Speaking at Government buildings on Monday, he said an “immense amount of work needs to be done” during the talks in the coming days.

“People need to understand that parties framed their ideas for the next five years based on what the world was like in February and not during the pandemic.

“We have engaged very closely with our membership so that people understand the challenges that are involved in sitting down with three parties.

“You never get everything you want in any negotiation of this nature, but there needs to be an understanding about the shift that is going to be there on the public finances.

“We have worked with our members and we need a programme for government and it will be a programme that recognises Fine Gael priorities.

“We have been through a very difficult period since 2011 when we rebuilt the economy and now we have to do that again.

You never get everything you want in any negotiation of this nature, but there needs to be an understanding about the shift that is going to be there on the public financesRichard Bruton

“At the moment there is nearly one million people who are dependent on the state and are not able to work. They are concerned and they want to see a recovery plan.

“All parties will encounter this and will have to persuade their membership that those compromises are in the best interests of the country to secure a stable government.”

Mr Bruton said the Green Party target of 7% annual cut in carbon emissions will be difficult to secure.

“These are ambitious targets and we will have to be imaginative in how we achieve them this year and over the decades to come, and try to develop policies to achieve them.

“That is challenging and it will be challenging as we go along.”

PA