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Question mark over further virus legislation as talks to form government resume

Leo Varadkar said officials ‘hope to get to the point where we can approach other parties’ soon.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said it is possible to form a government ‘in the next couple of weeks’ (PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said it is possible to form a government ‘in the next couple of weeks’ (PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said it is possible to form a government ‘in the next couple of weeks’ (PA)

Concerns have been raised that further emergency legislation to tackle the spread of Covid-19 cannot be passed without the formation of an Irish government.

Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail has said that without a fully formed Seanad, the Oireachtas cannot pass new laws.

The election of the Seanad will take place next week, however it cannot be fully formed as 11 of the Senators are nominated by a taoiseach.

If a taoiseach is not elected by the new 33rd Dail, the Seanad is short of its required 60 members.

It could cause major problems with passing further emergency legislation to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Leo Varadkar has said it is possible to form a government “in the next couple of weeks”.

“We’re not there yet, but we continue to negotiate with Fianna Fail” source=”Leo Varadkar” /]

He made the comment as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael hold their first discussions since Fine Gael’s parliamentary party met last Thursday.

Speaking at Government Buildings on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said: “I think we are going to need a government that’s going to last until 2024 or 2025.

“It’s going to need a working majority and that means it’s going to require more than Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

“Between the two parties, we only have 72 seats. I think for a stable working majority, you’re going to need between 82 to 85.

“So that means having at least 10 more TDs who are willing to come on board, take the whips, stay the course and be willing to make the tough decisions as well as the popular ones for the next four years.

“We’re not there yet, but we continue to negotiate with Fianna Fail, there are discussions happening today and we hope to get to the point where we can then approach other parties to see if they’re willing to form part of that government.”

On Tuesday, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said: “The focus has been on Covid-19 and the crisis that represents to us from a health perspective, that is right and proper and my view, as a party leader, has been to support the national effort and not to play politics with this and not play any politics around this virus.

“We are working together as a political entity in Dail Eireann to try and help to deal with this unprecedented crisis.

“That’s how this has to be and talks will continue in terms of the formation of a government.”

PA