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Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agree on the need to form stable government to help country after Covid-19 crisis

The two parties met for two hours of talks today.

Image: Niall Carson

FIANNA FÁIL AND FINE Gael have said they both “agree the need to form a strong stable government that will help Ireland recover post Covid 19″.

Both parties met this afternoon in what has been described as a “productive meeting”.

The delegations met in Agirculture House on Kildare Street today, where social distancing was observed.

In a statement released this evening, both parties agreed on the need to form a strong stable government that will help Ireland recover post Covid 19.

The statement said:

“They are working to develop a Programme for Government that provides stability and a working majority in the Dáil.

“They will meet again over the coming days and will both continue to reach out and engage with other parties.”

It is understood that today’s discussions largely focused on dealing with the public health emergency and what a recovery plan for Ireland might look like when the crisis is over.

It is understood that Fine Gael agreed that it is now in a position to discuss a programme for government, something the party was at pains to avoid prior to the Covid-19 crisis, when Leo Varadkar said his party was preparing for the opposition benches.

One source said this evening with the coronavirus and the Seanad quandary, pressure is on to get a government off the ground.

Once the Seanad dissolves this weekend, no new legislation can be passed.

When the current Seanad term ends, some 49 of the 60 Seanad seats will be filled.

The remaining 11 seats will be appointed by the Taoiseach but as Leo Varadkar is leading in a caretaker capacity, those seats will not be filled until the next Taoiseach is chosen, and therefore no new legislation can pass through the Seanad until that happens.

The Ceann Comhairle Sean O’Fhearghail wrote about his concerns in a letter where he said based on legal advice “it is not possible for the current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD to make the eleven nominations which in turn means it is not possible for the new Seanad to meet. This obviously gives rise to a very serious constitutional problem.”

Earlier today, the Taoiseach said at least ten other TDs would be needed to form a majority government. With the Green Party ruling itself out of government again, all eyes will turn to the Independent TDs in the Dáil.

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail agreed to continue talks with another formal meeting due to be held next week.

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