'I didn't think we'd be a scapegoat until we got into government': Thursday deadline to be missed as talks drag on

Green Party sources say that recent reports of a crisis within the talks are due to the two civil war parties "briefing media" against them in an effort to pile pressure on their TDs.
'I didn't think we'd be a scapegoat until we got into government': Thursday deadline to be missed as talks drag on
Green Party sources say reports of crisis levels being reached in the talks are a result of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil "briefing media" in order to build pressure on negotiators.

additional reporting by Paul Hosford

Talks to form a government continued late tonight after reports that they had been on the brink of collapse and now look likely to miss their Thursday deadline.

Tuesday's discussions centred around agriculture and the outstanding issue of climate and emissions.

It is understood that the emissions issue and discussions around the 7% emissions target was not resolved on Tuesday night, and a further meeting was held between deputy leaders, Catherine Martin, Dara Calleary and Simon Coveney after the negotiations.

Fianna Fáil sources say they're not worried about the fact that such intractable issues have been left until last, but accept that time is against the negotiators if the deal is to be passed by June 30, as there is still "a fair bit of work" to be done, with talks now expected to last until at least Friday.

Green Party sources say that recent reports of a crisis within the talks are due to the two civil war parties "briefing media" against them in an effort to pile pressure on their TDs.

"There are arguments within every party, within this potential program for government there has already been revolt from members in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, but the reporting is that the Greens are in turmoil,” a senior Green source said.

"I didn't think we'd be a scapegoat until we got into government.”

It's understood Fine Gael cancelled three plenary sessions last week due to Covid-19 discussions sparking outrage among some Green TDs that they were later blamed for a talks "crisis" in the media.

"The idea we're not compromising is ridiculous,” the source continued.

“A 7% emission target is a compromise, our major housing policy calls for no private housing on public land whatsoever, now we're arguing about the numbers of private houses on public land.

"The issue is they don't know the meaning of the word, us sitting around the table is already a massive compromise.

"The Green Party are well aware that history repeats itself, we're negotiating with two different deeply unpopular parties on the brink of a recession brought on by a pandemic, and we'll likely be wiped out in the next election and we're still negotiating for government."

Talks were expected to be finished by Wednesday, which is now unlikely, further piling pressure on the groups to get a deal over the line.

Some are also warning that talks could continue over the weekend, but all three sides maintain their desire is to agree a deal by Friday evening.

This would allow member balloting to begin next week and be concluded by June 26, allowing a Dáil sitting on June 30 to elect a Taoiseach and pass legislation which will otherwise lapse.

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