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Progress: FF and FG will meet to discuss minority government

Talks are expected to happen next week.

Updated at 7pm 

TALKS TO DISCUSS a possible minority government will take place in the coming week, following behind-the-scenes discussions today, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have confirmed.

It followed a pretty quiet day on the government-forming front after a flurry of late activity yesterday, when the Independent Alliance TDs called for the FF and FG leaders to meet with them, together, to clarify their positions regarding a minority arrangement.

The day was however punctuated by a brief moment of drama on live radio earlier, when the IA’s Shane Ross told RTÉ’s Claire Byrne he thought he had missed a phone-call from someone calling on behalf of Enda Kenny because he had to take a call from her programme.

The host urged the independent TD to get off the air and call the person back. He duly did, later reporting back to the show that Simon Coveney had told him the Fine Gael leader wouldn’t be available today.

Cryptically, Coveney had said there were “positive reasons” for his unavailability, Ross added.

It now appears those comments referred to exploratory contacts between the two old Civil War enemies.

Talks about talks

This evening’s developments follow a fractious week in Leinster House.

The main development was Fine Gael’s offer to enter a partnership government with Fianna Fáil, which Micheál Martin told Kenny he wouldn’t be accepting.

That offer came after the Dáil failed to elect a Taoiseach at the second attempt on Wednesday, and followed weeks of talks between independents and the two main parties following February’s election.

In its statement yesterday, the Independent Alliance said FF and FG needed to clarify their positions regarding a minority government if the partnership plan was off the table.

Martin got back to them and said he would be available to meet, while Kenny responded with a letter published on the Fine Gael website and a later statement, in which the focus once again was on ‘partnership’ and not a minority administration.

He did however say he was prepared to host a fresh meeting “early next week” and that he intended to write to “all Independent TDs and to the Fianna Fail (sic) Leader to that effect”.

imageSource: /Photocall Ireland

In a coordinated move, the two Civil War parties released statements within a minute of each other this evening using similar language.

Here's how Fine Gael confirmed the news:

Following exploratory talks this morning, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil negotiating teams have agreed to meet early next week to discuss how a viable minority government would work.

And here's Fianna Fáil's statement:

Following exploratory talks today, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have agreed to meet next week to discuss how a viable minority government would work.

Read: Enda and Micheál's brief meeting ends with no plans for government >

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