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More heat than light as talks drag on

Hugh O'Connell


Ireland risks turning into the new Belgium, with negotiations on forming a new government faltering

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BIG CALL TO MAKE: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD at Leinster House last Thursday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

BIG CALL TO MAKE: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD at Leinster House last Thursday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

BIG CALL TO MAKE: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD at Leinster House last Thursday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Eamon Ryan was spotted roaming around Government Buildings last Friday morning, prompting one excitable Fine Gael figure to proclaim: "The deal is done."

Ryan had merely dropped by for a meeting with Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar to discuss the progress - or lack of - being made in talks between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens to form a government. The tripartite negotiations are entering their fourth week and deadlines are slipping. A draft programme for government was supposed to be ready last week. The new deadline is this Friday, but now that is viewed as overly optimistic by those involved.

The warm weather is not helping matters for those stuck inside Agriculture House this weekend. "We'll still be negotiating this by the time Liverpool have won the title," sighed one Fianna Fail negotiator. Issues like agriculture and social protection are being discussed in detail for the first time this weekend.