Party leaders to continue government formation talks in morning after failing to reach deal

(Left to right) Simon Coveney, Eamon Ryan and Paschal Donohoe at Government Buildings today.

Negotiations on a programme for government have ended without resolution tonight.

The leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party concluded their meeting tonight and will return in the morning to continue the talks on a draft programme for government between their parties.

The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that taxation and the pension age are the outstanding issues but they are "not insurmountable".

Speaking at Government buildings, Fine Gael Minister Paschal Donohoe said: “There is a lot of work going on to be in a position, I hope tomorrow, to bring this to a conclusion.”

“I am satisfied that the issues that are important for my party are contained within the programme for government.

“We are in a situation where there are thousands of people waking up tomorrow who don’t have a job and we have challenges in relation to how we deal with housing and health.”

The parties were this evening edging towards agreement on forming a coalition government for the next five years, having overcome hurdles in the negotiations that have gone on for almost two months.

Members of the teams involved expect a deal to be presented tomorrow.

Agreement has been reached on a reduction in carbon emissions of 7% a year, a new childcare agency to be established and an affordable housing scheme.

The 100-page document also commits to ending direct provision and a large scale home retrofitting scheme.

Fianna Fáil has insisted that the pension age should not be increased to 67 until next year while Fine Gael has said taxes should not be increased for workers as the country faces a deep recession.

A Green Party source said a ban on fracked gas imports would likely see deputy leader Catherine Martin backing the deal, which could help to persuade two-thirds of its party members to approve the agreement.

The Green Party has the highest bar as their rules state that two-thirds of their 2,700 members must support the deal.