Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said the suspension of water charges was the wrong thing to do and was not in the public interest.

Mr Varadkar also said he has found Fianna Fáil's concentration on Irish Water during government negotiations "a bit surreal".

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Keelin Shanley, Mr Varadkar said there were many issues on which Fianna Fáil could have threatened a new election, such as the restoration of public service pay or insistence that a national health service be developed.

He said that he thought the fact that Fianna Fáil went to the wire over Irish Water was "ridiculous".

Mr Varadkar said "Water charges are being suspended, they're not being abolished. But it's the wrong thing to do. It's not in the public interest to do this."

He said that he has always been in favour of water charges and he stood by that, because a dedicated stream of income was needed to upgrade and maintain the water system while also promoting conservation.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath has described Mr Varadkar's comments as deeply unhelpful, inaccurate and self-serving.

He said that if a minority government is to have any prospect of succeeding, there must be goodwill, trust and mutual respect between the two parties. He added that Mr Varadkar's comments raise questions over whether he wants a deal to be done.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News this evening, Mr Varadkar said the issue of Irish Water has received too much attention.

He added that he hopes an agreement is reached with Fianna Fáil in the next couple of days and discussions conclude soon.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil exchanged drafts of agreements and planned legislation this evening.

Further talks on government formation took place between the two parties. 

Fine Gael produced the terms of a bill that would allow for the suspension of water charges for nine months.

It also provides for the possible extension of the suspension. However, it does not state that the majority of the Dáil will then decide the matter.

Separately, a political agreement being put forward between the two parties commits to a commission and a Dáil committee looking at the issue.

It also commits that any proposals are implemented through legislation in accordance with the majority of the Dáil.

Dáil adjourns to next Wednesday

The Dáil this morning voted to adjourn from the end of business this evening until next Wednesday at 10.30am.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald opposed the proposal from Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe.

As suggested yesterday, she said that the recent shootings in Dublin need to be discussed by the Dáil.

She said that the gang-related killings are not on the list of proposed topics to be discussed next week and argued that the issue is critical and she cannot understand how the Dáil could go through another week's business without discussing the murders.

She suggested the Dáil comes back on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

Ms McDonald asked whether or not there will be a vote to elect a taoiseach on Wednesday.

She said that given that we are nine weeks on from the election that there should be some indication about a vote on taoiseach next week.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the issue of crime raised is important and he expects that there will be a debate on crime, resources, and gang-related killings next week.

In terms of the vote on electing a taoiseach, he said discussions are still ongoing.

In the event that they are concluded members of the independent groupings say they will not offer support until they see an agreement.

Independent TD Michael Collins has said the appointment of a Minister for Rural Affairs is a red-line issue for him when it comes to voting to support Mr Kenny as taoiseach.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the "high level division" on the issue of water charges between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is very serious and does not make another election look unlikely.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, he said it was "shocking and surprising" that housing, health and the mental health crisis did not merit more time in government formation talks.

He refused to say whether he would support Mr Kenny as taoiseach in another vote.

Meanwhile, independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said that there is much work to be done between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael before any independent TD will lend their support.

Speaking on the same programme, he said that the mooted deal on Irish Water is a step in the right direction, but that he is deeply disappointed with the announcement on the delay in the roll-out of rural broadband.