FF and PDs retire to consider positional documents


Fianna Fáil and The Progressive Democrats have retired for the evening after holding talks on the formation of the next Government. The parties exchanged documents outlining each other¿s position at the talks which convened two hours late at Government Buildings at 3.30pm.

The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, and the PD leader, Ms Mary Harney, agreed at the weekend to begin the talks, which are expected to end by Saturday.

The meeting was due to start at 1.30 p.m. but was delayed by two hours.

Speaking on his way into Government Buildings this morning Mr Ahern said he was "optimistic" he could strike a deal with the PDs by the weekend.

Both parties, however, remained reticent today on the substance of the talks. A PD spokesman told ireland.comthe party was "taking nothing for granted" because Fianna Fáil "has other options".

The Fianna Fáil negotiating team is the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen; the Minister for the Environment, Mr Dempsey; and the chief whip, Mr Seamus Brennan.

Ms Harney's negotiators are the attorney general, Mr Michael McDowell, Laois-Offaly TD Mr Tom Parlon and the party chairman, Mr John Minihan.

Fianna Fáil is also likely to try and secure the consistent support of several Independent TDs.