Fianna Fáil and the North's SDLP have announced a partnership. The two parties will work together as Fianna Fáil considers running candidates in the North.
A full merger between the two parties had been suggested but will not go ahead for now.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said there is a crisis in Northern Ireland and more needs to be done to plan a new way forward.
Mr Martin said: "The achievements of the Good Friday Agreement have been immense and deserve to be celebrated. Unfortunately the reality is that today there is a deep and pervasive crisis which is causing far too many people to lose faith in politics and to believe that progress is impossible.
"At this dangerous moment, we simply cannot just accept business as usual. We must accept that there is a deep crisis and a new way forward must be plotted.
"A new agenda which responds to the needs of the people of all parts of this island - which can show that we don’t just have to accept the permanent cycle of partisanship, underdevelopment and crisis – is urgently needed.
"Through a programme of joint working groups, research and public engagement we will work together on proposing alternatives for critical issues."
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said:
"Our parties are determined to work together to try and change the failure our politics lies frozen in.
"We will not do so by gestures or gimmicks or through photo opportunities.
"Instead we will do it through a focus on policy and issues, not party or sectarian positioning.
"Both the SDLP and Fianna Fáil have agreed to work in partnership on an unprecedented programme of public engagement in Northern Ireland which can help frame an ambitious and practical agenda for the future of this island and our people.
"Without doubt this partnership marks an historic moment for both the SDLP and the Fianna Fáil parties.
"Far more importantly though, I hope and believe it marks an important contribution in finally breaking the cycle of vacuum and division which has failed our people over the last two years."