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Greens, FF and FG to meet today for plenary session on programme for government

All sides will attempt to agree a significant number of policies today.

Image: Niall Carson

PARTY LEADERS HAVE told their government negotiating teams to get a programme for government agreed by the weekend and today a plenary sessions is being held to move things along.

This afternoon, all three sides will attempt to agree a significant number of policies which have been the subject of discussions over the last number of weeks.

Progess in talks between the Green Party, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael has been continuously described as “good”, however, there have been some disagreements over some issues.

The earliest sticking point was the move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 7% annually – a priority for the Greens.

Parties have also clashed on agriculture measures, which were discussed yesterday, the scheduled rise in the pension age and taxation issues.

On the issue of transport, there are concerns among those in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael that a deal with the Greens will result in the scrapping of some of the 60 roads projects earmarked.

The Green Party also want to see 20% of the capital transport budget go towards cycling and walking.

While some sources have described the deadline for a programme for government to be agreed by this weekend as optimistic, party leaders are understood to have told negotiating teams to get it done.

The next hurdle for all parties will be getting the programme accepted by party members with all eyes on the Green Party which requires two-thirds of the party to give the deal the go-ahead.

An update on the talks will be given this evening at Fine Gael’s parliamentary party, where it is understood there are still a large number of TDs who still have concerns about going back into government, particularly with Fianna Fáil, and what it might mean for the future of the party.

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