Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agree to form 'stable' coalition to help country recover from coronavirus crisis

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agree to form 'stable' coalition to help country recover from coronavirus crisis

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.