Talks on Govt suspended for the night

Thursday 07 June 2007 21.54
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Government Buildings - Talks suspended for the night
Government Buildings - Talks suspended for the night
The Green Team - Very serious difficulties remain in the negotiations with FF
The Green Team - Very serious difficulties remain in the negotiations with FF

Talks between the Green Party and Fianna Fáil on forming a new Government have been suspended for the night, but are to resume in the morning.

After a fifth day of talks today, both sides said some progress had been made, but it is clear that serious problems remain.

Despite repeated assertions that the talks were on their final day, Green Party negotiator Dan Boyle emerged from Government Buildings to say they had once again been adjourned.

Both sides are to consult their respective parties before the talks resume.

Mr Boyle said that tomorrow morning is the furthest the talks can be pushed out in any conceivable sense, given that the Green Party has penciled in a convention for Sunday to approve any deal that is agreed.

In a statement, Fianna Fáil negotiator Séamus Brennan said some progress had been made in the latest session of the talks.

But it was clear from Mr Boyle's comments that serious difficulties remain; he said it seemed they had agreed a lot, but in other ways after five days it seemed they had not agreed anything.

Neither side said anything about what the pressure points were, but while the resumption of talks is positive, it is clear there are still a lot of gaps to be bridged.

Brennan hopes agreement can be reached 

At the adjournment of discussions last night, Green Party negotiator Dan Boyle stated today would be difficult but said talks were likely to end in agreement or a breakdown by this evening.

He stressed the need to reach agreement well in advance of Sunday's convention.

Mr Boyle said there had been some movement in the talks so far, which he said had focused exclusively on policy, and had not dealt with possible involvement in government by the Progressive Democrats.

In a statement, Fianna Fáil's Séamus Brennan also said progress had been made and expressed the hope that agreement could be reached today.

If the talks do not succeed, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will have to go back to his first preference of a Fianna Fáil/PD government supported by Independents.

But PD leader Mary Harney is continuing to keep her options open and discussed options with both Mr Ahern and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny yesterday.

A spokesperson said it was too early to say what conclusions she might reach.