Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on verge of striking coalition deal - sparked by worsening coronavirus crisis

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on verge of striking coalition deal - sparked by worsening coronavirus crisis

FINE GAEL and Fianna Fáil have had their arms effectively twisted by the growing coronavirus crisis and have begun advanced talks about forming a new coalition government.

Yesterday, it was confirmed by both parties that they are to enter government formation talks "as equal partners" as the Covid-19 outbreak worsens around the world.

Both parties have issued statements saying that party leaders Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin held "constructive discussions" over the last two days about policy issues and the current political situation.

The two identical statements said that both Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin are "acutely aware of the enormous challenges facing the country", particularly with the onset of Covid-19.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath has said people "wouldn’t forgive" politicians if they didn’t form a government in the face of the growing problems.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, McGrath said that the outbreak has changed the dynamic.

"Whether you agree or disagree, it is very clear that the scale and the significance of what we’re facing is enormous and we need a government with authority, with a mandate. We need a functioning parliament whereby legislation can be introduced debated and enacted. And that requires having a government in place," he said.

"It would be wrong to deny that the backdrop has brought a degree of urgency to the talks because I think undoubtedly it has.

"Because some decisions have been made already, including a €3 billion funding package for health, for social protection, to assist businesses, but more may well need to be done. And it is not sustainable over a prolonged period of time to have what is essentially a caretaker government," he added.

Last month, the two parties met briefly to discuss the possibility of going into government with one another, but talks broke down when Fianna Fáil allegedly demanded that they would only consider a deal if Micheál Martin was appointed Taoiseach.