A second round of talks on government formation will get under way later today, RTÉ News understands.

What was described as an "initial meeting' took place yesterday evening, between delegations from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

The focus was on agreeing on a programme for work, rather than getting into any policy detail on a programme for government.

In a statement released after the 90-minute meeting, the parties said that they had agreed to "keep this process confidential until it is completed".

Formal talks on programme for government begin
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The leaders of the three parties - Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan - have expressed confidence that an agreement can be reached either later this month or early in June.

Ahead of talks yesterday, Fianna Fáil lead negotiator Dara Calleary said his delegation was "very conscious of the need for a strong government to guide Ireland through its recovery period".

He was joined by deputies Thomas Byrne, Barry Cowen, Michael McGrath and Anne Rabbitte.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said there was "no certainty" of an outcome in such a negotiating process, but his party was "hopeful" that core party policy could be woven into a programme for government.

He was joined by deputy leader Catherine Martin, as well as deputies Ossian Smyth, TD for Dún Laoghaire; Neasa Hourigan, TD for Dublin Central; Roderic O'Gorman, TD for Dublin West; and Marc Ó Cathasaigh, TD for Waterford.

The Green Party lead negotiator, Catherine Martin, had opposed entering into the talks process, due to what she saw as an absence of key details in the joint document from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he thinks the talks will be a challenging process but that it is one he and his Fine Gael colleagues are absolutely committed to.

"We are going to give it our very very best shot," he told a PwC webinar this morning.

"As somebody who spent the last two and a half years making the case for economic and political stability, it shouldn't surprise anybody that I want to do my best to see can we form a new Government in a way that meets the different competing demands that are there from an economic and social point of view, but also has a Programme for Government that is really credible and really affordable."

He said he wouldn't put a timeline on the conclusion of talks as it is not conducive to positive outcomes at the start and he also has to be respectful to colleagues that he is dealing with: "The political results of the general election of 2020 have delivered a very complex and fragmented Dail and the result of that fragmentation and complexity is that it is taking time to unpick it."