Next week before programme for government likely to be agreed - Varadkar

Next week before programme for government likely to be agreed - Varadkar

The leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens will meet today as efforts to form a government continue.

Leo Varadkar has said it is likely to be next week before any programme for government can be agreed.

The chances of reaching an agreement on a programme for government this week are all but gone despite the negotiating teams finalising the text of some policies last night.

They have left the trickiest items for last however and today Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan will meet to discuss how much progress has been made.

Varadkar told his TDs last night it is likely to be next week before a programme can be agreed, if it can be agreed.

But some came away from that meeting feeling downbeat about the chances of a deal getting done at all.

It has now boiled down to the most fundamental issues of party identity - with central disputes being over agriculture, climate change, housing provision and the pension age - topics where the parties have quite different views.

They now have the difficulty of trying to reach a compromise that each party can sell to its members as a win.

But time is getting tight.

Criminal justice legislation needs to be renewed by the end of June, something that requires a new government.

Given it will take two weeks for party memberships to vote on any deal, next week is emerging as a hard deadline for these talks.

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