Government formation talks break down without agreement; party leaders speak by phone

Update 9.18pm: Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin have spoken by telephone this evening to discuss the impasse.

It is understood they will speak again in the morning, before the negotiating teams return to Trinity College.

Earlier: Talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil broke down this evening without agreement on the formation of a government, writes Daniel McConnell and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner.

Negotiating teams could not reach agreement on several issues including water, housing, health and education.

The teams have now kicked the matter up to their party leaders Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin.

The two leaders are now expected to meet tomorrow to try and address the impasse.

Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan said his team have reached a stage where housing, childcare, health, water issues cannot be resolved.

Mr O'Callaghan added that no problems are insurmountable but the input of the party leaders is needed to get past the seeming current impasse.

Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe said he and his colleagues have made progress on some issues today, but it is agreed others must be sent back to party leaders tonight.

Mr Donohoe would not say whether the previously stated timeline of a deal being completed still applies.

Plans for a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting this weekend has been postponed until Monday at least.

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