Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meetings on government formation taking place today

The two biggest parties in the country will start talking to their members about moving forward after the election

Updated 17.10

The Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil parliamentary parties have been separately meeting this afternoon, ahead of negotiations to try to form a government.

With no party coming close to an overall majority it's expected that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will reach a deal to form a government.

Fine Gael's Eoghan Murphy says though some in the party think they may be better in opposition: "I think some people are talking about maybe, given the results, that perhaps we should going into opposition. But we are the largest party, and I think we have responsibility to try and form a government if we can."

Both sides say they won't enter into government at all costs, however Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath says they all have a responsibility to form a working government: "It isn't sustainable to have a caretaker Taoiseach and a caretaker government."

It's understood that Minister Simon Coveney has apologised to the parliamentary party for seeming to suggest that abolishing Irish Water was on the cards.

Meanwhile Sinn Fein's David Cullinane seemed to rule them out of government earlier, saying they don't have a mandate: "There is no mandate for Sein Fein unfortunately to form left government. The numbers are not there for us." 

Talks and negotiations will continue between parties in the coming days, and likely the coming weeks.

Reporting by Sean Defoe.


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