Martin and Varadkar to discuss ongoing stalemate in government formation

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and acting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar are expected to discuss the ongoing stalemate in government formation when talks resume next week.

Martin and Varadkar to discuss ongoing stalemate in government formation

with reporting from Paul Hosford

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and acting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar are expected to discuss the ongoing stalemate in government formation when talks resume next week.

The Green Party will also zone in on costings for its election promises and narrow down spending options in coalition formation talks.

However, while a second vote for Taoiseach will go ahead on March 19, parties said no result is expected.

Instead, pressure is mounting on Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin to secure a government deal after his frustrated backbench TDs were critical of the direction of the party and its bad election results. It has also emerged that grassroots members are mounting opposition to any coalition with Fine Gael.

Fianna Fáil sources said talks with the Greens would resume next week. However, party negotiators are running out of patience amid a lack of costings from the Greens, including around transport and climate change.

“They are going to have to jump in and get serious. This is going too slowly. We need a government,” said a Fianna Fáil negotiator.

However, Green Party figures said they would be speaking with Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Independents next week and would narrow down spending options.

Senior Fine Gael figures will be out of the country next week as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Party sources said Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin are expected to either meet or talk by phone.

Mr Varadkar reiterated last week that he expects Fine Gael to go into opposition. This was despite six hours of policy talks with Fianna Fáil.

Mr Martin has also been taken aback by complaints from his own backbenchers about the direction Fianna Fáil is going in since its bad election results as well as concerns about attacks on Sinn Féin.

When several TDs confronted him at a party meeting last week, Mr Martin still ruled out working with Sinn Féin. Instead, he opened the door on a coalition with Fine Gael and did not rule out the option of a rotating Taoiseach with the rival party.

The Social Democrats will continue meetings with Sinn Féin next week. Independent TD Denis Naughten of the Regional Group of deputies, which pushed for the second Taoiseach vote to be held, said that he had hoped its scheduling would increase the urgency with which talks took place.

“The reality is that it has to be at least two of the three larger parties and then they can come and talk to the smaller groups and parties.”

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