Stephen Collins: FF and FG are afraid of what a Green deal might do to them

Whatever is agreed between negotiating teams will have to be ratified by party members

 There have been suggestions that Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin are playing a “good cop, bad cop” routine to extract maximum concessions from the two bigger parties. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

There have been suggestions that Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin are playing a “good cop, bad cop” routine to extract maximum concessions from the two bigger parties. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has shown great patience and political skill in the way he persuaded his party to enter coalition talks with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil but a series of formidable obstacles will have to be overcome if the three parties are to agree on the formation of a new government.

The core problem is that the kind of programme required to get the Greens on board is likely to provoke outright hostility from the ordinary members of Fianna Fáil and Fail Gael. Backbench TDs in both parties are warning that if they are seen to abandon their rural base at the behest of Dublin middle-class Greens they will be destroyed at the next election.

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