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Varadkar says third party must join Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in new government

Two months on from the inconclusive General Election, parties are still trying to find a pathway to form a new government.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail must find another party to join a coalition if the next government is to last, the Taoiseach has said.

Leo Varadkar said he was happy to work with independent TDs again, including those in the Regional Independent Group, but he said there was also the need for a third party.

Two months on from the inconclusive General Election, parties are still trying to find a pathway to form a new government.

A government that relies on nine or 10 independents supporting the government on every crucial vote isn't one that's going to be stableLeo Varadkar

Negotiators from Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are due to meet again on Monday to discuss the suggested coalition between the two.

Mr Varadkar said he was spending very little time on government formation talks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Fine Gael leader said his party and Fianna Fail hoped to agree a joint paper that they would then table to a potential third coalition partner, such as the Greens, Social Democrats or Labour.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

“I’m firmly of the view that if Fine Gael is going to participate in the next government we need a third party,” he said.

“We can absolutely work with independents as we did for the past four years, and very successfully.

“But a government that relies on nine or 10 independents supporting the government on every crucial vote isn’t one that’s going to be stable, isn’t one that will be able to make the tough decisions and hard calls that have to be made in the next couple of years, isn’t one that will last until 2024/2025.

“So we’re totally up for working with independents, including independents from the Regional Independent Group – there’s some very good people there.

“But I’m firmly of the view that if Fine Gael is to participate in the next government we will have to have a third party in there to make sure that we have the numbers.

“And also I think the broad base that’s needed to guide the country through the next couple of years, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael together won 42/43% of the vote in the last election, that’s not enough.

“I think we need a broader base than that to have the legitimacy and have the authority to govern the country.”

PA