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Talks between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael under way

Tanaiste Simon Coveney and Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary are holding discussions today before both parties engage in more detailed talks.

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Simon Coveney and Dara Calleary (Phil Noble/Niall Carson/PA)

Simon Coveney and Dara Calleary (Phil Noble/Niall Carson/PA)

Simon Coveney and Dara Calleary (Phil Noble/Niall Carson/PA)

Talks are under way between the deputy leaders of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael on the possibility of forming a government.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney and Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary are holding discussions on Wednesday before both parties engage in more detailed talks over the coming days.

Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe said on Wednesday that the Covid-19 outbreak will influence their discussions with political parties across the spectrum.

The party’s negotiator said further detailed discussions could take place by Sunday.

“They will form the early part of talks that we will be having with them (Fianna Fail) regarding whether it will be possible to form a new government,” Mr Donohoe added.

“At the best of times this would be a very demanding political exercise, but we are truly in extraordinary times and that will influence the discussions that we will have with political colleagues all over the spectrum of Irish political life.

“In terms of what priorities I might be raising with them, from my experience of these discussions I know it is not helpful if they hear about my priorities through (the media).

“They need to hear about it from us directly and personally and that’s what we’ll be doing over the coming days.”

He said discussions are under way between the deputy leaders and further talks will happen over the coming days.

“Coming out of all of that I think it is possible and to be expected that some form of talks will take place by Sunday,” he added.

“We have, however a duty as members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party to consult with, to assess our mandate with the parliamentary party.”

Fine Gael’s parliamentary party is expected to meet next Thursday.

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys said the party is having conversations with “everybody”.

She added, however that her priority is dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s important that people realise that we have a government in place that has full executive powers, and we are working extremely well with all of the political parties in the Dail at this time to try and meet the challenges that this is presenting on a societal basis,” Ms Humphreys added.

The Green Party is today holding a meeting in Dublin to discuss the possibility of going into government with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Mr Donohoe added: “We’ve had preliminary discussions with our colleagues in the Green Party in a process that is initiated by them.

“I am under no doubt regarding how serious their policy needs are and how seriously they hold them.”

A statement from the Green Party said: “The Green Party Parliamentary Party met this afternoon and agreed that, in light of the unfolding coronavirus crisis, the party are calling on all parties to suspend discussions on forming a majority government and work towards forming a crisis national government to be reviewed in three months.”

PA