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Fianna Fáil say confidence and supply negotiations cannot be rushed

Latest: The Justice Minister has warned that a general election will be triggered if the two parties cannot agree to extend the deal.

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin spoke on the phone last night and agreed to engage and appoint negotiating teams to discuss extending the deal.

The original agreement was for three budgets, the last of which was presented yesterday.

Minister Charlie Flanagan says people want stability.

"Next step now is for formal negotiations to get underway, I believe it's important that a deal be struck," said Minister Flanagan.

[quote]It remains to be seen if that will be possible. The alternative will be a general election.[/quote]

The Taoiseach has indicated he wants any new deal to be finalised by Halloween but Fianna Fáil's deputy leader Dara Calleary says talks to renew the confidence and supply agreement cannot be rushed.

Mr Calleary says Fianna Fáil is entering into the discussions with an open mind.

Dara Calleary

"It was agreed yesterday in the context of setting up the formal process that there be no pre-conditions so we're not going to set what the deadline is going to be," said Deputy Calleary.

"There are no pre-conditions, we're going to get this process underway.

"We certainly are entering into it with a view of an open mind, with a view of a thorough review and finding out why the kind of money that was announced yesterday isn't making a difference in housing."

[h2]Varadkar seeking to extend confidence and supply deal until 2020[/h2]

The Taoiseach and Micheál Martin have spoken about renewing the confidence and supply arrangement keeping the government up.

The original agreement was for three budgets, the last of which was presented yesterday.

Last night the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil spoke about renewing their deal that is keeping this government in place.

They have agreed to engage and appoint negotiating teams to discuss renewing the deal.

Officials are to start setting that up this week.

The two leaders are at odds about what they want.


Leo Varadkar wants a two-year extension to the deal with an agreement to hold an election in 2020.

Micheál Martin has only talked about a review of the current deal.

There is disagreement over timelines as well - the Fianna Fáil leader happy enough to let this go on over a number of months, while Leo Varadkar wants it done by Halloween.

Many in Fine Gael are itching to take advantage of good poll numbers with a November election.

While some in Fianna Fáil think the party would gain nothing by renewing the deal that has kept them in a kind of opposition limbo.

With the budget out of the way, the confidence and supply arrangement is likely to dominate the conversation in the halls of Leinster House over the coming weeks.

Digital Desk