THE Green Party's proposal to freeze efforts at forming a Dail majority in favour of a temporary crisis government to tackle the coronavirus emergency has been shot down by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
It comes after Eamon Ryan's party threw a spanner in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin's plan to enter talks on forming a Dail majority.
The Green Party's 12 TDs met yesterday and called for such talks to be suspended in favour of "forming a crisis national government" to be reviewed after three months.
The decision by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to enter talks was seen as a significant breakthrough. However, hopes of a swift end to the political stalemate brought about by February's election result were rocked by the outcome of the meeting of the Green Party's TDs.
Enlisting the Greens' Dail strength would be the most straightforward route to the two Civil War parties forming a government.
A Fine Gael spokesperson last night said the party intended to continue discussions with the Green Party but poured cold water on the idea of a national government.
"Decisions and choices may need to be made in the coming months that require a government with a working majority in the Dail and Seanad, and which is able to function effectively," the spokesperson said.
A Fianna Fail spokesperson went further, saying: "A national government is a way of making government less effective, not more.
"It sidelines parliament and turns government into the place where battles are fought not where decisions are taken."
Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin last night indicated that her party will still engage in talks if its proposal is rejected by the others.
She said letters asking for a suspension of talks on forming a Dail majority have been issued to other party leaders.
"We're hoping as a parliamentary party that they will be receptive to that. If they're not we have to meet again and I guess we continue as is - where we talk to everybody," she said.
Talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will begin today following a 'scoping' meeting between the parties' deputy leaders, Simon Coveney and Dara Calleary, yesterday.