Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil unanimously adopt deal on Government

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil unanimously adopt deal on Government

Update 9pm: The Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Parliamentary parties have tonight unanimously adopted the deal on Government.

The confidence and supply agreement will see Fianna Fáil support Fine Gael and Independents on key confidence votes from Opposition.

Fianna Fáil also says it is getting a number of key policy positions implemented as part of the deal.

Party leader Micheál Martin says the arrangement will remain in place until at least the end of 2018.

"Bar unforeseen accidents, or complete negligence in terms of attention to these issues, we're not out there to entrap a government or to catch a government offside in an opportunistic way.

"We are about being constructive and positive facilitating this."

Earlier:Fine Gael have committed to possibly "abolishing" water charges if the Oireachtas recommends so after the whole system is reviewed by a special commission, writes Juno McEnroe, Irish Examiner Political Correspondent .

Water charges now look set to be suspended in six weeks under proposals agreed between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil as part of a minority government deal.

The details of the deal are being discussed by the parliamentary parties of both groups this evening.

A new commission will now establish how future investment can be borrowed by a national utility for water services in future.

Changes under the deal will also see the €100 water conservation grant scrapped and more funds instead injected into group water schemes and the refurbishment of wells.

The document, seen by the Irish Examiner, has said that the Oireachtas will - six weeks after the government is formed - introduce legislation to suspend charges for a period of nine months.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil unanimously adopt deal on Government

The suspension period can be extended, the document adds, by the incoming government.

The expert commission will be set up within eight weeks of the new government and report within five months of its establishment.

Crucially, the document states that the commission recommendations will be voted upon by the Oireachtas and that the Government will introduce legislation for water charges based on the outcome of that vote.

But it adds: "The Government will facilitate the passage of legislation (whether it be a money bill or otherwise) the implementation of the recommendations in relation to domestic water charges supported by the Oireachtas (including abolition, a reformed charging regime or other options," says the document.

Fianna Fáil are scheduled to give a press conference shortly about the document.

However, on the contentious issue of the near million customers who are thought to have paid their water bills so far, the deal between the two is vague.

It says: "We affirm that those who have paid their water bills to date will be treated no less favourably than those who have not."

This seems to suggest that those who paid will be no less off than those who have not but the agreement does not suggest that non-payers will be pursued or refunds provided.

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