Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said her party will deliver the most effective Opposition ever seen in the State.

She said February's poll was the "change election" and Sinn Féin won more votes than any other party.

This was a mandate for her party to enter into government, she told the Dáil sitting in Dublin's Convention Centre, but she said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had excluded Sinn Féin from government formation talks.

Deputy McDonald said today's "marriage of convenience" between the three coalition parties is borne of "necessity and not of ambition" and will be used to buy time to keep others out.

"Faced with the prospect of losing their grip on power, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have circled the wagons," she said.

She said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would no longer get it their own way and that the future belonged to those who believed in change.

Deputy McDonald said many people now realise that the price of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael together in Government is too high.

The issues that dominated the election are the ones that have been "dodged" in the programme for government, she said.

Ordinary people should not shoulder the burden of this economic crisis, she added.

Ms McDonald appealed to those who voted for change not to give in and lose heart.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said the programme for government was a lost opportunity to transform our society - and that the "financials behind this are comical".

Without timelines and costings, he said, many of the proposals will be "kicked further and further down the road".

Referring to Hollywood actor Matt Damon's recent stay in Dublin during lockdown and Leo Varadkar's love of movies, the Labour leader pointed out some of the comments that the outgoing Taoiseach had made in the past about the incoming Taoiseach.

"In the 2016 General Election he said Micheál Martin could not be trusted". 

Deputy Kelly said it appears that Mr Varadkar has had his memory "completely wiped" adding that he must have taken some tips from Matt Damon as he had "woken up like Jason Bourne" with no memory of what he said about Fianna Fáil.

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith said PBP would remember those whom the last Government forgot and who, she said, this Government would try to ignore.

She said she was confident that Fine Gael would look after the very wealthy in society and Fianna Fáil would look after the developers and the builders. The Green party would act as "mudguard" for both of them. 

RISE and Socialist TD Paul Murphy said it was a right wing government. He said it was a programme for austerity and would worsen the housing crisis.
 
Aontú leader Peader Toibin appealed to the new ministers to drive the departments in the direction that they need to go. He also said "what we are witnessing today is a creation of a government that nobody wanted".

Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath said that a national government could have been formed. He said the Government had abandoned the south east and it was all about Dublin and nothing about the country. 

He described the rural affairs ministerial portfolio being mixed up with social protection as a "crazy scenario".

Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae said he was personally delighted that Fianna Fáil's Norma Foley had been appointed as Minister for Education.

Co-Leader of the Social Democrats Catherine Murphy said that it was a "historical day" but there was nothing "normal" about it.

She said the majority of the doors her party knocked on during the election "did not want more of the same".

"This is a changing Ireland and the broken record has to change too."

Independent TD Michael Lowry said the agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael recognises a new chapter and a new dawn. He said he believed time will prove they are an "ideal match".

Independent TD for Galway Noel Grealish said the country needed a Government to address many challenges over the coming months. 

Additional reporting: Maggie Doyle