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Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to open formal government formation talks

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From The Irish Examiner.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are to open formal talks on forming a government amid fears over the coronavirus and after meetings of the two party leaders.

In a statement this evening, Fianna Fáil confirmed that the two parties will appoint their own teams for the negotiations, which come as the country prepares to fight the spread of the virus.

The party said: “The leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have held constructive discussions over the last two days about a series of policy issues and the current political situation. They have decided that teams from the two parties should now commence in depth detailed talks.

“Both parties will also continue discussions with the Green Party. Both Leaders are acutely aware of the enormous challenges facing the country particularly with the onset of COVID 19.”

“They enter the talks as equal partners determined to develop proposals which will serve the interests of the people of Ireland.”

The move comes after Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held meetings last night and today over policies as well as the current political standoff.

The same statement was also released by Fine Gael after the decision today.

The move comes as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar prepares to fly to the United States for the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington this week and also ahead of a fresh vote for Taoiseach in the Dáil next week.

Mr Martin recently in an interview on RTÉ radio did not rule out the prospect of rotating the role of Taoiseach in a coalition.

Negotiating teams are expected to begin talks this week while the parties are also set to keep negotiating with the Green Party.