Fianna Fáil: 'Irish Water is far from the only issue preventing government deal'

Reports suggest Fine Gael may be willing to suspend water bills

Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, talks, water charges, talks, Enda Kenny, Michael Martin

Enda Kenny and Michael Martin (right) at the 1916 Easter Rising Centenary Commemoration Ceremony at Arbour Hill, Dublin | Image:

Updated: 19.05

Negotiators from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have adjourned for the day, following a bid to thrash out a deal on a minority government.

It is understood the latest compromise on offer from Fine Gael on water would see the suspension of water charges on a temporary basis.

Since talks between the negotiation teams ended on Friday, Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin have spoken a number of times.

Backroom staff from both parties have also been working on various areas over the weekend.

Water charges and the future of Irish Water remains the sticking point for both parties.

The latest compromise from Fine Gael would see the temporary suspension of the charges while a Commission looks at a new charging regime that includes waivers and allowances.

But that may not be enough for Fianna Fáil, who have stuck to their position that charges must be suspended for at least the lifetime of the 32nd Dáil.

Fianna Fáil says the future of Irish Water is far from the only issue preventing a government deal with Fine Gael.

Negotiating teams were once again in Trinity College this evening, for more talks hoping to pave the way for a minority government.

Finance minister Michael Noonan says it's not clear whether a proposed compromise on water charges - involving their temporary suspension - can be accepted.

But Fianna Fáil's Charlie McConalogue says water is not the only issue still to be agreed:

Acting Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney says Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael need to make compromises, as government formation talks continue.

But the Cork South Central Fine Gael TD is confident that progress will be made in the coming days.

Mr Coveney is part of the Fine Gael negotiating team, but he is currently making a personal submission at the oral hearing into the proposed incinerator in Ringaskiddy.

Speaking to Cork's 96FM on his way into the hearing, Mr Coveney said he is anxious to form a government as soon as possible.

Michael Brennan is the political correspondent with the Sunday Business Post.

He says Micheál Martin's party look unlikely to back down on their call to suspend water charges.

"The theory is very much there in Fianna Fáil that they can push this because Fine Gael don't want that immediate election, because they don't want to go in with Taoiseach Enda Kenny - and water charges would be difficult", he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Joint-leader of the Social Democrats, Stephen Donnelly, says a deal should have been reached by now.

Sinn Féin's denying its offer to enter talks about facilitating a minority Government comes after weeks of it being accused of doing nothing.

At the weekend Gerry Adams insisted he was available to talk, but that the two big parties continue to insist Sinn Féin is not fit for Government.

Dublin Fingal TD, Louise O'Reilly spoke up about the situation:

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