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(L to R) Leo Varadkar, Eamon Ryan and Micheál Martin at a pre-election debate. Niall Carson/PA Images
government formation

Leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party agree on draft programme for government

The programme will now have to be voted on by the parties’ members.

FIANNA FÁIL, FINE Gael and the Green Party have agreed a draft programme for government.

The announcement comes after negotiations intensified over the past week. The three leaders have been meeting in recent days. 

The parties have been hammering out the details for the programme for government – or a ‘to-do list’ of policies that they would implement if in power together.

This document – titled “Our Shared Future” – will then be put to each of the three parties’ membership to vote on, and if all three parties approve it, the next government will be formed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

The pension age, policy over carbon emissions, agriculture and housing were among the final sticking points that have now been resolved.

Under the deal, Micheál Martin will serve as Taoiseach until December 2022 when the role will rotate back to Leo Varadkar. 

Speaking outside Government Buildings, Fianna Fáil leader Martin said he was happy to have reached an agreement, and it would now be put out to the parliamentary party and party membership for a ballot on whether to ratify the party going into government. 

“There’s a challenging time ahead economically as a result of Covid-19,” he said. “I think the programme for government does represent a new departure in how we deal on key issues such as housing, education, health and above all the significant challenge of our generation which is climate change.”

He said there was “significant” measures within the programme aimed at tackling the effects of climate change. 

A draft of the programme for government – seen by - said that the world was “approaching a climate crisis long before Covid-19 hit our shores”. 

“The pandemic has acted as a catalyst, enabling us to implement radical policies that were considered impossible before; it will not and must not be used an excuse for failure to take immediate action to deliver on all that is needed to build a better society and a secure future for all living things,” the draft said. 

In the document, it also said the new government will publish a series of “immediate actions” to support the recovery of the economy following Covid-19, dubbed the “July stimulus” using a new “Recovery Fund”. 

Under this July stimulus, the new government will set out a pathway for the future of the temporary wage subsidy and the pandemic unemployment payment. 

The document also said that the government would consider “additional measures that may be needed to support the hospitality, retail, entertainment, arts and leisure sectors”. 

On the day that Budget 2021 is announced, the government will announce a “national economic plan” as part of its aim charting a “longer-term jobs-led recovery”. 

In line with other measures that had been flagged, the draft programme says the new government would “not support the importation of fracked gas and shall develop a policy statement to establish that approach”.

It said the government would also be committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021. 

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar indicated that the raising of the pension age to 67 – one of the main sticking points in the negotiations – would not take place next year and an independent commission would examine the issue. 

“This is an agreement that, from my point of view and certainly from the point of view of the country, is going to be a good one and one that is very much in line with Fine Gael’s values and principles,” Varadkar said this morning.

With reporting from Christina Finn

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