Fine Gael may suspend water bills to reach agreement with Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael may suspend water bills to reach agreement with Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil representatives are due to meet again today, following direct talks between Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny at the weekend.

Joint-leader of the Social Democrats, Stephen Donnelly says a deal should have been reached by now.

"Now, it's too long. We, the Social Democrats met with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael straight after the election.

"We'd very constructive talks with them it has to be said, laid out our priorities, but then publicly stated that those two parties have to come to some agreement," said Donnelly.

Water is still seen as the main stumbling block to an agreement, however reports today suggest that Fine Gael may be willing to suspend bills in a bid to end the deadlock.

Both sides are also considering setting up a commission, run by an independent panel of experts, to examine the charging system.

Fine Gael sources yesterday revealed that, while Fianna Fáil’s full five-year suspension of charges is not acceptable, a shorter period may be once there is also a clear deal to reintroduce a charging system.

Such a pact may end the stalemate, but would also require Fianna Fáil to agree to when charges could be reintroduced.

On Friday, negotiating teams referred disagreements on health, housing and water to their respective leaders.

"We were all wanting to talk and help design a program for the Dáil but it couldn't be done until Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agreed something," said Donnelly.

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