By Daniel McConnell, Juno McEnroe and Fiachra O Cionnaith
Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny has formally offered Micheál Martin to enter into a "full partnership" Government.
The two leaders met for 45 minutes yesterday evening. Mr Kenny made the proposal offer to Mr Martin of forming a Government made up of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independents.
Mr Kenny stressed the need for stable Government in the meeting which was described as "businesslike".
The pair did not discuss the option of rotating the position of Taoiseach with sources saying the meeting remained on a "big picture" level.
Mr Kenny made the offer with the unamimous approval of his ministers.
Mr Martin did not commit to agree, but said he would have to refer the offer to his parliamentary party which is to meet in the morning.
The meeting took place after both men were unsuccessful in their bid to be elected Taoiseach in the Dáil.
A Fianna Fáil spokesperson confirmed that "at the meeting this evening between the Leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, Enda Kenny confirmed that he believes a Fine Gael minority led government or a Fianna Fáil led minority government would not work and that a full partnership government of Fianna Fáil/ Fine Gael/ Independents would be his preferred option.
"There was an hour-long discussion and Micheál Martin will discuss this and other options with his parliamentary party."
A Fine Gael statement said: "…The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the leader of Fianna Fáil Micheal Martin had a positive and constructive meeting during which they discussed the current political situation and options for the formation of a stable and lasting Government.
"The Taoiseach made a formal offer for the formation of a full partnership Government including Fine Gael, Independents and Fianna Fáil which would have the potential to provide a stable and lasting government.
"The Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil leader have agreed to meet again tomorrow for further discussions."
Update 11pm: Speaking after the meeting tonight, acting Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said: "Well look, those parties will have parliamentary party meetings at 11am tomorrow.
"This was a formal offer, if you like, from Enda Kenny, and of course Micheál Martin has to bring that offer now to his parliamentary party and we'll see how they respond.
"But this is a very serious, and some would say historic offer in a year of historic commemorations."