The Green Party has joined both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in giving its backing to the programme for government, paving the way for a historic coalition between the parties.

The party voted 76% in favour of backing the deal - above the two-thirds majority required.

Of 2,500 eligible members, just under 2,000 registered to vote.

It comes after both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael respectively voted in favour of the programme earlier on.

Fianna Fáil voted 74% in favour of the deal.

The programme for government was given a resounding backing by Fine Gael, with all groups within the party voting in favour of entering the coalition with Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

Overall 80% backed the programme, which paves the way for a government that will be led by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin for the first two-and-a-half years of its term in office.

Some 57% of Fine Gael councillors voted in favour, with 71% of the party's constituency delegates supporting it.

It got a 90% backing within the Fine Gael parliamentary party, while 85% of the executive council voted in favour.

Mr Martin said he was delighted that his party "overwhelmingly endorsed" the deal.

He said the party had been given a mandate to go forward with the programme, and described this as "an important day" which was "both a moment of opportunity and of hope".

"Democracy in our party is alive and well, and I'm delighted that the recommendation that I gave to the party membership, recommending this programme for government, has been so overwhelmingly endorsed by the party membership," said Mr Martin.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said his party is going to enter a third term in Government, and that this coalition was united and strong and up for the challenge.

Following the vote, the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said there is a sense of responsibility on the party and they would now commit with their coalition partners to getting the country out of the economic crisis.

Welcoming the party's decisions to accept the programme for government, deputy leader Catherine Martin said she understood the views of those members who did not support the deal.

But she assured them that their voices have been heard and that they will work every day to ensure that the Government will deliver for all the people of Ireland.

Mr Martin is now set to be elected as Taoiseach at a special meeting of the Dáil tomorrow.

The new Cabinet will also be revealed when the Dáil holds its special sitting at the Convention Centre, to comply with Covid-19 social distancing rules. 

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister has congratulated Mr Martin on twitter and said Ireland is our closest neighbour, good friend and ally on issues such as climate change, the global fight against Covid-19 and our shared values on human rights and
democracy.


Coalition faces task of trying to revive economy amid pandemic fallout

David Murphy

The decision of the three parties to approve the programme for government now paves the way for a ground-breaking coalition at a time when Ireland struggles with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

When Micheál Martin takes over the Taoiseach's office at lunchtime tomorrow he will face the long and difficult task of trying to revive the economy. 

Some businesses will survive. Others have already closed their doors permanently. 

After he appoints his new Cabinet, Mícheál Martin will nominate new Senators in order to swiftly renew the powers of the Special Criminal Court. 

Following that move his administration will have to introduce legislation to enact supports for businesses. 

Proposals were already published by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to provide funds valued at €6.5bn to help companies navigate the crisis. 

Banks are preparing to release cash to businesses once those government supports are in place. 

The task of reviving Ireland's companies has become more urgent as the outgoing government has brought forward the easing of restrictions. 

That meant thousands of workers are returning to jobs in an uncertain climate, earlier than previously expected and businesses need cash quickly. 

Now the new three-party coalition will be judged on its job of navigating the economy through the crisis. 

The well-being and livelihoods of thousands of citizens will depend on its actions over the coming weeks.