Talks between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party continued last night as the parties tried to agree a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7% annually.

A successful resolution to this part of the negotiations is seen as crucial to getting an agreement on a programme for government.

The deputy leaders of the parties met following talks yesterday afternoon that were described as useful.

However, they failed to reach an agreement on this issue over fears about that impact it could have on agriculture.

There is a debate within the Green Party too about whether or not an average 7% reduction in emissions over the next decade would be acceptable rather than a straight 7% cut each year.

It is understood that the monitoring of these targets will be measured by the Independent Climate Council.

However, just how the reductions will be achieved exactly is still not clear and that means any final agreement might not be reached until the weekend.

Yesterday, the Rural Independent TDs met the leaders of Fine Gael, the Green Party and Fianna Fáil.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath said Green Party leader Eamon Ryan was upbeat in those talks, so much so that Mr McGrath said he was worried about what this would mean for rural Ireland.

One thing is clear, and that is confirmation that the Dáil will not sit on Thursday week next to allow Fianna Fáil, the Greens and Fine Gael sell their potential agreement to their party membership that week.


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The latest meetings come amid some indications that Thursday's deadline for the conclusion of the discussions might possibly be missed.

The talks hit some difficulties in recent days after pressure from within the Green Party.

There is a view among many in that party that it requires a number of, what some term "clear wins", in the next few days.

There is a view that anything less would make the passing of an agreement by the party's membership unlikely.

Progress was also expected in a number of areas including education, health, direct provision and political reform.

It follows a very lengthy meeting between the deputy leaders of the three parties on Monday night.