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Fine Gael TDs won't vote on entering government talks with Fianna Fáil

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Coalition talks: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Doug O'Connor

Coalition talks: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Doug O'Connor

Coalition talks: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Doug O'Connor

The Fine Gael parliamentary party will not vote on entering into formal government formation talks with Fianna Fáil.

The party will hold a parliamentary party meeting by conference call today and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said it was "unlikely" they would vote on coalition talks with Fianna Fáil.

Mr Donohoe said party members would be guided by leader Leo Varadkar's view on the talks.

For weeks, Mr Varadkar has insisted he could not enter into programme for government talks with Fianna Fáil as his party had not given him permission to advance negotiations. However, the Taoiseach will not officially ask his parliamentary party to ratify further talks with Fianna Fáil through a vote.

"We are in a completely different space now and the coronavirus dictates our every move," a Fine Gael source said.

Fianna Fáil has been anxiously waiting to see the response of Fine Gael members to their intensified coalition talks.

There is no expectation of major dissent within Fine Gael to the Taoiseach's plan to push ahead with talks.

The move follows a day of talks between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's negotiating teams on forming a coalition government. The focus of the negotiations was on coronavirus and the impact it will have on the economy.

Talks were scheduled for three days but were curtailed to allow ministers to work on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dáil is also reconvening today to vote on emergency legislation to give the Government new powers to tackle the health crisis.

The new laws will give the State the ability to detain people and lock down entire communities if they believe it will stop the virus spreading.

They will also sign off on new welfare benefits for people who have lost their jobs due to the social distancing measures introduced over the last two weeks.

Parties and political groupings agreed to send representatives to the sitting rather than have all TDs attend.

Irish Independent