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Talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil expected to continue into tomorrow

The prospect of Labour supporting a Fine Gael-led minority was also downplayed today.

Image: Leah Farrell

Updated 8.55pm

TALKS BETWEEN THE two main parties, aimed at coming to an agreement that would see Fianna Fáil support a Fine Gael-led minority, are continuing this evening.

The meeting started at around 11am this morning, with just a short break before TDs came together again to talk about how to facilitate Fianna Fáil supporting the government from the opposition benches.

It is expected that the discussions will be adjourned later tonight and will recommence in the morning.

Earlier today, the prospect of the Labour party being part of a new deal was downplayed by acting minister of state Kevin Humphreys, following speculation it was prepared to support a Fine Gael-led minority government.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Humphreys – who lost his seat in the February election – said that stories over the weekend had been based on “informal contact” that Fine Gael had made with Labour.

Questioned on the source of the story he speculated that it could have been a Fine Gael leak.

“My own view at the moment is that we have a Dáil there operating for 50 days and not doing any significant business,” he said.

“And it’s been an awful lot of talk about Dáil reform, which I very much support and the Labour party supports, but it’s time to test that.

There are a number of bill that are there ready to go – why not now but them into the house?

He said that such a move would be a good chance to see how “responsible” the current opposition parties are, and that only around 10% of TDs are involved in the negotiations for government.

Humphreys noted that his own party had been restricted in what they were able to achieve during their time in government, pointing to zero-hour contracts, rent certainty and social houses as areas of disappointment. 

He also said that there was currently no question of Joan Burton being replaced as leader of the party. 

Speaking at an event earlier, President Michael D Higgins also spoke about the siuation.

A spokesperson the President confirmed he is “fully aware of his role” in relation to the formation of the government and is “well versed” in the legislation.

- With additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

Read: Talks latest: Labour could go back into government with Fine Gael

Also: Joan Burton hopes to do a deal with the SocDems and the Greens

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