Government formation: Parties move step closer to deal after mammoth 19-hour talks overnight

Government formation: Parties move step closer to deal after mammoth 19-hour talks overnight
Party leaders Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan

Michéal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan are to meet today to finalise a Programme for Government after 19 hours of talks between their parties concluded at 4am Sunday morning.

There is now a strong expectation from all sides that the deal to form this historic three-way coalition could be agreed by the leaders, should a number of final issues being ironed out.

According to sources, among the issues to have been “kicked up” to the leaders for decision include the rate at which carbon taxes will be increased, the pension age, the Occupied Territories Bill and welfare payments.

After 19 hours of talks which started on Saturday, the three parties reached agreement on some of the most contentious issues including the National Development Plan and the future of transport provision.

Sources have said that one of the major sticking point was the Green Party demand to prioritise the provision of public transport over funding for roads but it appears Mr Ryan's party have won a big concession here.

Agreement has also been reached in relation to the provision of housing with the Greens with a major boost in the delivery of affordable and social housing promised.

It is also believed that the Greens have secured a withdrawal of support for the controversial Shannon LNG project which they had seen as a “red line” issue.

The three parties also agreed that there would be no increase in third-level fees as well as a commitment to review the funding for the sector. Fianna Fáil has been pushing for a ministry for higher education to be established.

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