Talks on forming a programme for Government are continuing throughout today and parties expect progress could be made on some areas over the course of the weekend.

Negotiations have been focusing on transport, including a demand by the Green Party that 20% of the transport budget be allocated to walking and cycling infrastructure – as well as policies around mental health.

This afternoon, talks moved on to areas such as energy and communications policy and there is some expectation, but no certainty, that agreement could be reached on these areas by tonight. 

However, a breakthrough is unlikely on the main bones of contention including measures to achieve the 7% carbon emissions reduction, the State pension age and the role of an agency that would oversee the building of housing on State-owned land. 

The Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party leaders are due to meet tomorrow amid expectation that a deal will be reached by the middle of next week.

Tuesday and Wednesday of next week are being talked as possible dates when a draft programme could be finalised.

However, some involved in the talks process think that negotiations could drift into Thursday before a deal is done.

Additional reporting: Mary Regan