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Historic deal finally paves way for a new FF/FG government

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Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny

A historic deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail has cleared the way for Enda Kenny to be re-elected as Taoiseach.

The two parties finally agreed to a five-page draft document last night which will be finalised today.

The Herald understands the deal includes:

* An extension to the mortgage interest relief scheme

* A review of the location of garda stations

* Rent supplement is to be increased by up to 15pc

* A re-examination of the role the National Treatment Purchase Fund can play in reducing hospital waiting lists

* The suspension of water charges

* An assessment of public pay rates.

Negotiating teams from the two parties spent yesterday in Trinity College teasing out the final details of the arrangement, which sources say has a review date of September 2018.

Members of the Independent Alliance were then summoned to a meeting in Government Buildings for a briefing on the latest developments. However, they were not shown the finer details of the deal between the two big parties as Fianna Fail want their TDs and senators to endorse it before it is made public. They were told the full talks about a programme for government will begin at 10am on Monday morning.

Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath told reporters he was "pleased and relieved" that the formal negotiations had ended.

Lengthy

Asked if he believed the deal was historic, Mr McGrath replied: "I know it has been a lengthy and tortuous process, but if you think about it we have been talking to Fine Gael for less than three weeks.

"When you consider the history of those parties, the near 100-year history of our State, this is the first initiative of its kind.

"I think it will be an achievement if we can get this over the line, to have a document for the formation of a minority-led government."

Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe said: "We have an arrangement across a variety of areas. Intense work will now continue in relation to the text of the agreement between both parties.

"That will then be shared with the Taoiseach and the leader of Fianna Fail and our respective parliamentary parties."

He warned that, while the talks were finished, there was still "much work" to be done on the wording of the agreement.

"We look forward to the fruits of that being shared with both parties," he said.

The acting Transport Minister said he was confident Fine Gael supporters would see their values in the documents.


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