Irish Republican News · June 12, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Green Party set for coalition with FF, PDs

Green Party negotiators this evening agreed to join a Fianna Fail-led 26-County government and will put proposals to members tomorrow.

After ten days of intense negotiations, which resumed yesterday after breaking dowon on Friday, agreement was reached in the past hour on a programme for a new coalition government.

While the distribution of government departments was not agreed, it has been reported that the significant policy differences between the two parties have somehow been overcome. The terms of the deal have not yet been released.

26-County Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Green Party leader Trevor Sargent are due to meet tonight or early tomorrow to put the finishing touches to a landmark deal which is expected to see the Greens enter government for the first time in Irish history.

The new coalition will be led by Bertie Ahern, and will comprise Fianna Fail's 78 TDs, six Green TDs, two members of the Progressive Democrats and perhaps three independents. It is rumoured that the temporary leader of the Progressive Democrats, Mary Harney, will be returned as Minister for Health.

The proposals are due to be brought to the Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party tomorrow at 3 pm while the Green Party will convene a special delegate conference at the same time where two thirds majority support is needed for the party to enter the proposed coalition.

Speaking after the negotiations concluded, one of the Fianna Fail negotiators, Seamus Brennan said: "We were satisfied that this document would form a basis for government".

Mr Sargent said party members will debate the proposition at a meeting at the Mansion House tomorrow.

"It is our members who will democratically decide if the Green Party is to enter the next Irish Government," Mr Sargent said.

Prospects of a deal had increased over the weekend when contacts were resumed between the parties despite some brinkmanship by negotiators last week.

Earlier this evening, the Green Party said that 'drafting difficulties' were all that was blocking efforts to conclude a Programme for Government with Fianna Fail.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News