Talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have ended with agreement on the shape of a Fine Gael-led minority government that should last for three years.

The agreement commits Fianna Fáil to backing three budgets, to not bringing the government down in confidence motions or objecting to reshuffles. Party sources though insisted there were no guarantees on supporting day-to-day legislation.

Policy areas mentioned in the document include Irish Water, public service pay and budgetary matters, rural affairs, and the housing sector.

It is understood the agreement runs to just a few pages.

Sources in both parties said it was a "broad brush" document which dealt largely with how the relationship between them would work and did not represent a programme for government.

Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin are expected to talk over the weekend and their respective parliamentary parties will consider the document before the Dáil reconvenes to elect a Taoiseach on Wednesday.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said intensive work will now get under way on the text of the agreement. 

He said a significant amount of work would be done over the coming days, before the draft of the agreement is put before the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath has said he was "pleased and relieved" to have concluded talks with Fine Gael. 

He said the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party would be on standby over the weekend to meet once the final document agreement has been drafted. 

Mr McGrath said the last few weeks of the talks had been "tortuous and long and difficult at times". 

In statements released this evening, the two parties said: "Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have reached a political agreement to facilitate a Fine Gael-led minority government.

"Both party leaders are now being briefed, extensive drafting has to be done and then both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will hold separate parliamentary party meetings to outline the details of the confidence and supply arrangement."

Fine Gael has the support of two independents, and need another six to allow them to govern with Fianna Fáil abstaining.

Meanwhile, Deputy Shane Ross has said that the six Dáil deputies who are members of the Independent Alliance are absolutely united at the moment on the issues, on their charter and on their demands for Government and that they would stand behind each other.

Before beginning discussions with members of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, he said that they would be getting a brief outline this evening of what is being proposed.  

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One, he said that he does not expect that they will get to see any document until tomorrow as both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are insistent that it must be ratified by their parliamentary parties before anyone else sees it.

Mr Ross said that the Alliance would insist that those radical proposals that are contained in its charter and which have already been discussed with Fine Gael, would be included in any final deal.

He said that many of these items are cost neutral and some might save money.

Mr Ross said that during the election campaign, independent candidates had found that the issue of water charges was becoming a smaller and smaller issue and that compared to concerns of voters over issues such as crime, homelessness and housing, it has taken up a disproportionate amount time in the talks to form a government.

Denis Naughten of the five strong rural independent group said they would have to be convinced that the agreement could produce a government that could last five years and not five months.