A spokesperson for the Taoiseach has conceded that the prospect of renewing the Confidence and Supply Agreement by Halloween is unlikely.

Last week, Leo Varadkar said talks to renew the deal could be completed by the end of the Dáil’s Halloween break, if both parties engaged seriously in their review of the deal.

However, a spokesperson for Mr Varadkar has now said the Halloween date was never a deadline and more of a target.

These comments suggest that talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on the arrangement that keeps the Government in place could run until December.

A Government spokesperson added: "The objective is to get talks started. That is now going to happen.

"A long period of talks would not be of benefit to anyone. We still believe it’s possible to get things concluded within a short time frame with goodwill on both sides."

Earlier, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan said he hoped it would be clear by Christmas whether or not the deal would be renewed.

Talks between the parties are scheduled to begin next week.