Housing issue ‘parked’ as government formation talks enters third week

Discussions on housing in government formation talks have been "parked" due to consistent disagreement.
Housing issue ‘parked’ as government formation talks enters third week

Discussions on housing in government formation talks have been "parked" due to consistent disagreement.

Talks took a break on Sunday, after discussions on health on Saturday and will resume for what one TD says "will be a pretty grueling week".

The issue of housing has been a consistent source of consternation between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party negotiators, after being discussed repeatedly over the last two weeks.

The issue has now been "parked for the moment" according to one negotiator because they are "not going well", in an attempt to bring some temporary relief and keep negotiations moving forward.

It's understood there are "fundamental differences" between the parties on the issue, and that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are unwilling to commit to the level of "public housing on public land" policy favoured by the Greens in order to tackle the ongoing housing crisis, however as housing has not been discussed at a full plenary session yet, "it's too early to say it's a sticking point".

Another TD said the parties had been "engaging intensively" on the issue: "Housing policy is a complex area and the three parties are giving it the time it needs to tease out various issues".

Monday's discussions will return to the future relationship with Northern Ireland and health.

Several independent TDs from the Independent Group and the Regional Group have been notified by Tánaiste Simon Coveney that they will be included in government formation talks the week after next.

It's understood the three party leaders will make contact with the independent groups next week with a view to set out how more detailed talks of the formation and structure of government will go.

The negotiators are said to be confident of having a programme for government ready in around two weeks time, with the talks process expected to be concluded by Sunday June 7.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said on RTÉ's Late Late Show, that he believed a programme for government could be signed-off "if not by the end of next week then very shortly after that".

Meanwhile, the Green Party have issued a denial after an article in a Sunday newspaper claimed that the party had requested that they be given the choice of attorney-general in any new government, and touted the likely candidate as Green Party member Roderick Maguire BL.

Mr Maguire was one of 200 lawyers who signed a statement calling for a “no” vote in the abortion referendum, a detail which sparked widespread concern on social media among Green Party members. TD Neasa Hourigan tweeted on Sunday: "With the greatest respect to this member I have never heard his name, appointments are decided by the leaders not the core negotiating team.

"The Attorney General is an incredibly important role, as an active repeal campaigner this would not be an acceptable appointment to me.

Shortly after, the party headquarters issued a formal statement to the media in an effort to reassure members.

"The Green Party would like to clarify that no names have been put forward by the party for the role of Attorney General in any potential coalition government," a statement said.

"The party has not discussed possible appointments either internally or with other parties at any level."

More in this section