There are indications from all parties involved in the programme for government negotiations that an agreement could be reached early next week.

A group of Fine Gael TDs are understood to have received an optimistic assessment of the talks tonight from the party's deputy leader Simon Coveney.

A plenary session of the talks on government formation took place this evening.

This morning, representatives of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party discussed the topic of energy again, while health was also addressed in recent hours.

The discussions have been described as "punchier" and moving at a quicker pace today.

Some sources are indicating that the final agreement will not put an undue burden on agriculture as part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 7% annually.

There is an expectation that the three parties will aim to agree the text of the programme for government by next Tuesday. 

Detailed discussions with independent TDs are set to take place at that point.

This timeline suggests that a new government will not be formed until the latter half of June, given that the membership of each party will have to be consulted via a postal ballot.