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Varadkar confident government can be in place by end of June

Government formation talks continue, more than three months on from February’s inconclusive general election.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is confident a government can be in place before the end of June.

Government formation talks between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party continued this week, more than three months on from February’s inconclusive general election.

Speaking at a post-cabinet briefing on Friday, he said talks are progressing and parties are trying to find agreement on contentious issues.

The objective now is to agree a programme for government by the end of next week and then be in a position to put it to the membership of the three parties over the following two weeks and then form a new government by the end of June.Leo Varadkar

He said: “As always in the talks process, you can agree the less contentious things first and we’re now at the stage where we need to find compromise on the things that are more contentious.

“The objective now is to agree a programme for government by the end of next week and then be in a position to put it to the membership of the three parties over the following two weeks and then form a new government by the end of June.

“We will then be in a place to pass necessary legislation by the end of July, but there is many a slip between the cup and the lip.

“I can guarantee that everyone is working really hard on this and the parties are really serious about being in government.”

Mr Varadkar said he and his ministers will not be accepting a 12% pay rise given to public servants.

“I have already signed the document handing back 10 or 12% of my salary earlier this year. I didn’t make a big deal of it.

“That is something we have been doing for years, we took a voluntary pay cut and have refused pay increases every year.”

PA