By Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter
The Green Party have pulled out of negotiations with Fine Gael after meeting with them this morning.
The party have citied Fine Gael’s slowness to speak with Fianna Fáil as a major factor in leaving the round-table talks which included members of the Independent Alliance and the five rural Independent TDs.
Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin had taken part in three rounds of combined discussions with Fine Gael and 15 Independent TDs.
They now feel however that the numbers are not there to form a strong Government.
Speaking this morning, Mr Ryan said the party, which was previously part of a Fianna Fáil led coalition, had hoped that more groupings would have joined the talks.
“It comes down to the issue of numbers,” he said.
“If it is going to work it has to be a rainbow with diverse strands and we felt that it needed wider dimensions.
“If you don’t have a rainbow government that is close to 79, you have to get the support of Fianna Fáil, that’s just the reality.
“We did what we said we wanted to do – we said we would go into talks. But over the past few days there was still that issue as to how do you get the numbers.”
The Green Party are now due to speak with Fianna Fáil this afternoon before a meeting of members tonight.
However, it is also expected that this will be the final talks Mr Ryan’s party have with the four Fianna Fáil negotiators.