Fianna Fáil leader says those who have not paid water charges should

Talks are continuing to try and form a minority government

Water charges, Fianna Fail, government, talks, Micheal Martin, Enda Kenny

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin at the 1916 Easter Rising Centenary Commemoration Ceremony in Arbour Hill, Dublin | Image:

Fine Gael is to continue efforts today to strike a deal with Independents to enter a minority government.

It follows the publication last night of the framework arrangement with Fianna Fáil, which will see the minority supported until at least the end of 2018 - barring unforeseen circumstances.

The document entitled 'A Confidence and Supply Arrangement for a Fine Gael-Led Government' says the party leaders will personally step in to resolve any issues that could undermine the deal.

Among its policy commitments, it outlines how rent allowance is to be increased by 15% and also has a clear timeline for the suspension of water charges.

Under the arrangement, water charges would be legally suspended within six weeks of a new government coming into office.

This is despite the fact that a fresh billing cycle is underway.

And Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says those who do not pay and have not paid, should.

Barry Cowen, Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on the Environment, spoke to Newstalk Lunchtime about the agreement on water charges.

"As the law stands, [people] have to pay their bills. I do have a bill, and I'll continue to pay the bill until they're suspended. I'll either be reimbursed, or those that haven't paid will be pursued to pay," he explained.

He says the introduction of water charges "was rushed, ill-conceived, ill-thought out and led to the mess that we have. Every effort by the Government subsequently to address their mistakes only made it more convoluted and ridiculous".

Fine Gael TD for Clare, Pat Breen, told Newstalk Breakfast people in his constituency have no problem paying for water.

Meanwhile there is unlikely to be a vote for Taoiseach until next week, according to an Independent Alliance TD.

Michael Fitzmaurice says that there are still a number of roadblocks to a deal with Fine Gael, and he would be very surprised if there was a vote tomorrow.

The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD also said if they can agree a programme for government Independents can be relied on for their votes.

Deputy Fitzmaurice believes it would not make sense for them to break ranks on individual issues after agreeing a deal.

And Fine Gael negotiator and acting Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is still holding out hope that a vote for Taoiseach could take place this week.

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