Government talks adjourn - and Irish Water wasn't on the agenda

Cowen says parties would rather take their time

Fianna Fail's Barry Cowen has said the issue of Irish Water was not raised today at talks to form a new Government.

Negotiating teams on both sides have adjourned talks for this evening - to resume again in the morning

If agreement can be reached it may pave the way for a minority government led by Fine Gael and Independents.

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil deny that a deal has been reached on Irish Water and say the matter was not brought up during four hours of talks today.

Talks will resume tomorrow - with Fianna Fail saying issues like health and childcare also need to be resolved.

"If we haven't reached agreement on many issues tomorrow, we'll be here the next day," Cowen said.

"I'd rather we produced a document we're happy with having considered it over time, rather than rushing into an agreement."

  

Fine Gael's Simon Coveney says more time is needed to examine some of the issues on water charges.

"It's quite a technical and complex issue as well as a political one, so we needed to take technical advice from water experts to ensure anything we potentially agree actually works," he said.

 

However the Independent TD for Kerry, Michael Healy Rae, says that such a government won't be formed without the support of 60 TDs.

"What's needed in this Government is stability.

"Now people talk of the arithmetic of this and they come up with a figure of 58. That's actually incorrect, because a figure of 58 is what's required as basic working figure... but I don't see this Government being formed without the figure of 60."

 

Earlier, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil held meetings of their TDs to discuss a potential deal on Irish Water.

Sources say that while Fine Gael TDs were pretty positive about the proposals for Irish Water, and there are mixed views within Fianna Fáil, with some insisting the party stands by the commitment to scrap the charges.

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