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FF and FG give assurances on Sláintecare as talks get underway with the Greens

The Green Party entered into formal talks with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael today.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan entering in Ag House on Kildare Street for talks with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan entering in Ag House on Kildare Street for talks with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

FIANNA FÁIL AND Fine Gael have given assurances to the Social Democrats about the funding of Sláintecare and housing in a letter sent by Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin.

In the letter, the two party leaders responded to the six questions posed by the Social Democrats after the policy framework document for government-formation was published. 

It is understood that reassurances have been given that funding for Sláintecare will be ringfenced.

While Martin and Varadkar do not agree with the Social Democrats in terms of suspending EU fiscal rules, the letter sets out that both leaders are in favour of reforming the fiscal rules to pay for housing and other areas such as transport and health.

The letter sets out that leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael said the rules may need to be reformed to take account of the changing times and to enable European economies to rebuild.

Talks on Kildare Street

The correspondence comes as formal talks on a possible programme for government got under way today between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

While last week, there was controversy over the Greens setting out a yearly 7% emissions reduction as a red line issue, there has been movement in recent days, with Varadkar stating that they are open to the idea once it is made clear how it can be done. 

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said today there was “no certainty” of an outcome, but said he was “hopeful” that core party policy could be included in a programme for government.

Fianna Fáil lead negotiator Dara Calleary said his delegation was “very conscious of the need for a strong government to guide Ireland through its recovery period”.

Martin and Varadkar have both said a government could be up and running by June. 

While the Green Party, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael has been mooted as the most likely outcome, Varadkar has indicated a cobbling together of Independents could also ensure that the next government has a large majority. 

Peadar Tóibín, leader of Aontú, also met with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael negotiating teams today.

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“These talks are not a blank cheque,” said Tóibín, stating that Aontú will only participate in government if it is confident that the party’s core objectives can be delivered.

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