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Coveney's preaching, Catherine the enigma and McGrath's range: what the deal signals

The dynamic between the parties in the coalition talks gives an insight into what to watch for next

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Party rivals: Eamon Ryan and his deputy leader Catherine Martin. Photo: Frank McGrath

Party rivals: Eamon Ryan and his deputy leader Catherine Martin. Photo: Frank McGrath

Party rivals: Eamon Ryan and his deputy leader Catherine Martin. Photo: Frank McGrath

The elephant in the room entered via social media. The negotiating teams from the three parties were set for a long round of talks three Saturdays ago. On the heavy agenda for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party were up to 10 policy papers to plough through, on areas ranging from transport and mental health to retrofitting and the Just Transition Fund for the midlands.

In the evening session, mobile phone messages began to ping saying Catherine Martin was contesting the Greens leadership against Eamon Ryan. The Greens deputy leader, Martin, was sitting there in the room as those across the table wondered whether there was any point to the negotiations at all.

"There were a lot of pressure points that day. In the middle of a 12-hour session, we all saw it on social media saying she was going for it and just thought: 'Jesus, what the f*** is going on?' Nobody said anything. Typically Irish. She sat there serenely," a negotiator laughs about it now.


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