The talks could help bring an end to six weeks of political vacuum
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have agreed to hold talks next week regarding the formation of a minority government.
The agreement comes after preliminary discussions between the two parties took place on Saturday.
It is not clear whether Fine Gael is now willing to support a Fianna Fáil-led government if it wins the support of enough independent TDs. The meeting however, could help bring an end to six weeks of political vacuum by clarifying whether any kind of minority government will have enough support to survive for longer than a few weeks.
Earlier this week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny formally offered Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin a full partnership government but Fianna Fáil rejected it, with party leader Micheál Martin saying that they would support the formation of a minority Government.
Independent TDs were not involved in preliminary talks which took place over the weekend, and each party will continue separate talks with them.
In a statement issued by Fine Gael, they outlined that "Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil negotiating teams have agreed to meet early next week to discuss how a viable minority government would work."
Independent TD Mattie McGrath stated that, either way, it's a welcome development:
“I've all the time wanted both parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael because they're the bigger parties, to make a statement, a simple statement, that they would set down six to eight ground rules as to how one might support the other in opposition, be that if Fianna Fáil have more votes to elect the Taoiseach or vice versa.
"Fianna Fáil have admitted that, and said they would, Fine Gael are more reluctant. So hopefully these talks will come.”
Meanwhile the Independent Alliance, who have been in negotiations with both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, have denied claims they been offered cabinet positions in return for supporting a minority Government.