Coalition talks adjourned until tomorrow

Tuesday 08 March 2011 15.45
Pat Rabbitte & Phil Hogan - Talks resumed today
Pat Rabbitte & Phil Hogan - Talks resumed today

Talks between Fine Gael and Labour on the formation of a new government have been adjourned for the night and are expected to resume tomorrow morning.

The coalition negotiations were halted for a time this evening, to allow for drafting of sections of a potential agreement.

Michael Noonan has acknowledged there are issues to resolve but that they are still making progress and there is no big crisis.

Mr Noonan said that they are continuing to work through a whole lot of policy material.

He also said at the moment Labour are still going ahead with their conference on Sunday and Fine Gael are looking at arrangements for their parliamentary party to meet on Sunday also.

Labour TD Pat Rabbitte said tonight that progress is being made in coalition talks between his party and Fine Gael but there are still significant issues to be resolved.

He said the intention is to try and resolve these tonight but he was not sure that will be the case.

It is likely that any agreement will not be published until the eve of a special Labour conference scheduled for Sunday.

Labour's TDs and Senators are due to be briefed on the process tomorrow evening at another special meeting.

Earlier, Labour negotiator Brendan Howlin has said a lot of detailed work has been done, but that they will be operating well into the night.

He said they are breaking at the moment for drafters to turn discussion documents into texts which they will then look at again.

Asked if they will have an agreement any time soon, he said 'there is a number of hurdles yet to be overcome and there will be no agreement until everything is agreed.'

In relation to the Labour Party special delegate conference scheduled for Sunday afternoon, he said there has been no decision not to proceed with that conference at this time.

Coalition talks between Fine Gael and Labour went on until late last night.

Meanwhile, both Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore are out of the country for meetings of their respective European political groups, and will not return until tomorrow afternoon.

If any deal emerges from the negotiations in Government Buildings, it will have to go to the two party leaders for final approval.

Restructuring is necessary - Redmond

The former Labour Party minister, Barry Desmond, has said he believes there should be a restructuring of government, as the current structure is inadequate.

Speaking on News At One, Mr Desmond said three senior ministers should be appointed to the Department of Finance - one for public service reform, one for banking and financial policy and one for the budget.

He said that, given the economic situation, the job of Minister for Finance could not be carried out by just one person.