Thursday 29 September 2016

Enda Kenny admits to 'very good meeting' with Green Party in bid to form government

Sarah Collins, in Brussels

Published 17/03/2016 | 16:49

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been courting the Green Party in his bid to form a government.

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Speaking to reporters in Brussels today, he waxed lyrical about the Greens following a meeting with the party’s two TDs on Wednesday and hinted that there might be a deal in the offing.

He said the meeting was “very good, very constructive and very straightforward” and called the Greens a “recognised, strong political party”.

“I had a very good meeting with Eamon Ryan and the new Deputy Martin,” Mr Kenny told reporters on his way into an EU summit in Brussels.

“Obviously we were talking about policy issues in so far as the Green Party is concerned,” he said. “And obviously, they are looking forward, I think, to seeing issues that are of importance to the Green Party.”

The party will make a decision by Monday on whether to back a Fine Gael-led government.

Mr Kenny refused to be drawn on whether he would resume talks with Fianna Fáil, whose support he is likely to need even if Fine Gael manages to win round the Greens and other smaller parties and independents.

The Taoiseach was in Brussels for a summit of EU leaders to discuss a controversial deal to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe.

The deal, which was drafted at an emergency summit last week, offers Turkey more money, visa-free access to the EU and speedier membership talks in exchange for Ankara taking back Syrians that enter the bloc illegally via the Greek islands.

It includes an EU pledge to take one legal refugee from Turkey for every illegal migrant Ankara takes back.

But it now looks to be unravelling over opposition from Cyprus to opening up new chapters in Turkey’s EU accession talks.

“It now appears as if the elements of the deal that were going to be on the table will not be able to be completed because there’s a realisation obviously in respect of Cyprus being a member of the European Union for a long time and this problem in Northern Cyprus, so therefore it's unlikely that the accession chapters will be expedited,” he said.

The meeting is expected to last well into the night before EU leaders reconvene tomorrow for a breakfast with the Turkish prime minister to discuss the deal.

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