Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party meet for first detailed policy negotiations
Labour leader Alan Kelly reiterated his party will not be participating in government formation process
Labour leader Alan Kelly said he had received a reply from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to his letter of last week, and would now stand back and allow the two parties, and the Greens to try to put together a government. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Green Party representatives met on Monday for the first session of detailed policy negotiations in the protracted process of government formation.
The parties are understood to have discussed justice issues and are expected to move onto financial and economic matters on Wednesday, when a series of briefings from senior officials are expected.
The briefings are likely to dwell on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the state’s response to it, on the public finances and the overall economic outlook.
The parties have agreed a schedule and a structure for the talks. It is understood that Fianna Fail is anxious to progress the talks quickly, a view shared by some - though not all - senior figures in Fine Gael.
Contrary to some expectations, there will be no parallel strands of the talks, which had been suggested to expedite the pace of agreement. The Green Party is insisting that its TDs are briefed on all developments in the negotiations as they happen, which insiders suggest will mean the talks are likely to progress slowly.
The Labour leader Alan Kelly has reiterated that his party will not be participating in the present government formation process. Mr Kelly said he had received a reply from Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to his letter of last week, and would now stand back and allow the two parties, and the Greens to try to put together a government.
“I welcome the acknowledgement by the leaders, of our view on government formation. There are four parties with more TDs in the Dáil than the Labour Party, and any three of those can form a government with a majority,” he said.
“Detailed negotiations are now underway on government formation between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, and if successful would command a majority in the Dáil. We respect the mandate of the participants, and for now they should be given the space and time to reach a conclusion.”