FINE GAEL and Fianna Fáil have reportedly agreed to form a "stable" coalition government in order to help Ireland get back on its feet following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The two parties have been at a stalemate ever since the election last month, with neither them nor any other parties able to strike a deal to form the next government.
Following the election, which saw no party get anywhere near the 80 seats needed in order to secure a majority, progressive discussions between the major parties had been few and far between, and it looked likely that the country would head back to the polls for a second time.
But given the current gravity of the coronavirus crisis, forming a new government has become a need greater than partisanship and political loyalty.
Party sources indicate that talks between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are now expected to proceed quickly, possibly in time for a coalition programme to be presented to members before the end of April.
It comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that it was possible to form a government within "the next couple of weeks".
"I do think it is possible to form a government in the next couple of weeks," he said in Government Buildings.
"But to form a government, and I think we need a government that's going to last until 2024, 2025, it's going to need a working majority.
"And that means it's going to require more than Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
"I think to have a stable working majority, you're going to need 82 to 85 [seats]."
Between them, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have just 72 seats, and their hopes of securing a majority with the help of the Green Party have been dashed after Eamon Ryan categorically backed out of negotiations recently.
However, the likelihood of finding the extra 8-10 seats needed should still be feasible, and fortunately so a the clock winds down on the caretaker government's ability to govern.