The Green Party held informal policy discussions with two Independent TDs yesterday. 

The meeting with Michael Fitzmaurice and Marian Harkin is understood to have reached some common ground. 

However, there was a divergence of views on issues such as the building of the outer ring road in Galway and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

There was a clear understanding on both sides however that there would never be a culling of the national herd to reach emissions targets. 

The meeting is viewed as significant in the context of the possible formation of a government that could include, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party and a number of Independent TDs. 

The Green Party's TDs and Senators will resume deliberations tomorrow on the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael proposals on government formation.

This follows a two hour teleconference meeting this morning.

The party is not issuing a statement today. 

On Tuesday night, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar sent a six-page letter to the Greens, which provided answers to 17 key questions which had been posed by the party.

In nearly a dozen of those answers, relatively clear commitments were given on a range of topics such as stopping construction of new liquid natural gas terminals, ending direct provision, and attaining overseas development aid targets.

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The Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael leaders also committed to enacting climate legislation within 100 days of forming a government.

However, Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar did not commit to the exclusive provision of public housing on public lands and, crucially, said it was necessary to tease out how a 7% reduction in greenhouse gases could be attained.

The chair of the National Advisory Council on Climate Change has said we need to prioritise investment in climate change going forward despite the €30 billion cost of the Covid-19 crisis.

Professor John Fitzgerald said up-front investment in bus, rail and light rail public transport schemes needs to be commenced if we are to seriously bring down carbon emissions over the next decade.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said carbon emissions will be down around 5% this year because of the Covid-19 lockdown but will come back up as the economy re-opens. 

He said the Green Party’s demand of reducing carbon emissions by 7% each year over ten years will be "extremely difficult" to attain, but we should not get caught up in the cost issue and instead take actions that will start to bring about the reduction. 

Prof Fitzgerald said implementing the Bus Connects scheme as well as the Dublin Metro and the Luas in Cork would make cities more efficient and reduce carbon emissions later in the decade. 

He also said farmers should be encouraged to plant woodlands, which would be a win/win for them in terms of land use and income and reducing the amount of lands available to raise cattle. 

He said that smaller wins in agriculture would include changing the type of fertilisers used by farmers. 

Additional reporting Paul Cunningham