Government talks between Fine Gael and Independents taking place

Fine Gael are optimistic a government will take office on Thursday

government, deal, talks, discussions, negotiations, fine gael, fianna fail

Paschal Donohoe TD, Michael Nonnan, Leo Varadker TD, Frances Fitzgerald TD, and Simon Coveney TD as they arrive at Trinity College for talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. Image: RollingNews.ie

A meeting between the Independent Alliance and Fine Gael got underway at around 10am.

It's the first set of meetings due to take place since the party agreed a deal with Fianna Fáil on Friday.

The issue of a cardiac care centre for the South East believed to be the major stumbling block for the Independent Alliance with Waterford TD John Halligan refusing to back Enda Kenny if he doesn't do a deal on it. Fine Gael negotiators will also be meeting with the Rural Alliance later.

A vote on Taoiseach is due to take place on Wednesday with hopes high that a government will take office on Thursday.

Acting Minister Simon Coveney says today's discussions will be intensive - but hopefully fruitful:

“In truth the policy discussion with the independents has been a much more detailed one and so we’re hoping to actually write a programme for government with independents as opposed to simply having policy agreements with Fianna Fáil.

“There’s a lot of work we can do today to actually move things ion and I hope by the time Thursday comes we’ll be in a position to have a vote for the Taoiseach and finally the country will actually get the government that it needs.”

However the Independent Alliance says it's very optimistic to think a deal could be done by Thursday.
Shane Ross says it's up to Fine Gael to decide if they want to work with the group:

“I think that if they agree to some of our most radical agreements and we can say that Irish society has changed then we will get an agreement. If however they balk at it and they don’t make concessions which are absolutely necessary for us then I think it will take an awful lot longer.”