‘Constructive’ talks on forming government conclude for night

Enda Kenny talks up ‘earnest hope’ on forming government in the national interest

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) has said it is his “earnest” hope that a government can be formed in the national interest. File photograph: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) has said it is his “earnest” hope that a government can be formed in the national interest. File photograph: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire

 

A meeting between negotiators from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on forming a new government has concluded after an hour and a half on Monday night.

The sides are to continue with the discussions on Tuesday.

The meeting this evening was held in the Sycamore Room in Government Buildings and was attended by Frances Fitzgerald, Leo Varadkar, Paschal Donohoe and Simon Coveney on the Fine Gael side, and Michael McGrath, Charlie McConalogue, Barry Cowen and Jim O’Callaghan from Fianna Fáil.

Fine Gael said in a statement the proceedings were “ constructive and cordial”. The meeting lasted an hour and a half.

Earlier, Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it is his “earnest” hope that a government can be formed in the national interest.

Mr Kenny said it is the duty of all politicians to work to find solutions, adding the complex result of the general election requires a new way of doing politics.

Speaking at the National Concert Hall this evening at an event to mark the refurbishment of the Kevin Barry Rooms, Mr Kenny said: “It is the duty of all elected public representatives to work to find solutions to problems and challenges that are faced by the Irish people, both now here at home and challenges that clearly are abroad.

“The new political reality following the election of the 32nd Dáil is difficult for all political parties, including my own. The general election result requires a new way of doing politics to provide stable and lasting government.

“A complex decision by the people requires a different kind of answer, a different kind of response - a big, bold response in the sense of the issues that we face up ahead.

“Since the election, many efforts have been made to form a government that has the capacity to tackle the serious national and international challenges we face as a country.

“These discussions are continuing as I stand here. It is my earnest hope that we can achieve a government that can deliver in the national interest and for the people.

The rooms at the NCH hosted the Treaty debates in December 1921 and January 1922. And Mr Kenny said reading from those debates is “both exhilarating and sad”.

“Exhilarating because of the seriousness of the issues and the immensity of what was happening - sad because of what was to come.

“The debates are a salutary reminder of the responsibilities borne by elected representatives of the people. We now have to be mindful again of that responsibility.”

Earlier, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin held a meeting with his negotiating team ahead of the discussions with Fine Gael.

Mr Kenny also met with his party’s Ministers to outline the structure of the negotiations.

Discussions between the two parties startedat about 7pm.

It is understood the meeting was primarily an attempt to build up trust between the two parties.

The Independent TDs are due to hold their own meetings on Tuesday to discuss their next step.

The Social Democrats, the Independent Alliance and the rural TDs will meet separately on Tuesday to consider how to proceed.