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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 25 June, 2019
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Enda and Micheál had 'good discussion' but water charges still divide parties

Formal talks will resume Monday but the leaders will be keeping in touch over the weekend.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE COUNTRY HAS now gone 57 days without a government and while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are still talking to one another, there are still a number of issues they need to iron out before a deal can be reached on a minority-led government.

Last night, as formal negotiations broke for the weekend, issues like housing and water charges were causing problems.

In particular, the parties are having trouble compromising on water charge policy, with Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne telling RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke yesterday that an agreement was doubtful unless Fine Gael was willing to suspect charges for five years.

A party source said the two leaders had “a good discussion” on the phone earlier today and would remain in contact over the weekend. However the parties’ negotiating teams will not resume formal talks until Monday morning.

One Fine Gael TD said it appears as if “the tail wants to wag the dog”. They suggested Fianna Fáil begin speaking to parties who are of the same mind on water, adding that Enda Kenny’s party is “duty bound” to hold their ground.

Both sides are still said to be hopeful that a resolution can be reached next week, but if neither are willing to budge on the water issue, the country could still be without a government next weekend.

- With reporting by Christina Finn. 

Read: Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny talked over the phone tonight – and will again tomorrow>

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