Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to commence coalition government talks
The two parties will enter talks as "equal partners determined to develop proposals which will serve the interests of the people of Ireland."
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are set to hold formal talks regarding a proposed coalition with a viable government yet to be decided upon since February's general election.
Sinn Féin gained significant ground in that contest, with 37 party members elected to the 33rd Dáil. Fianna Fáil also won 37 seats, while Fine Gael won 35.
Prior to that election, Fine Gael and Fíanna Fail worked together under the confidence-and-supply agreement established following the 2016 general election, though the new proposed talks appear to signal power-sharing in the form of a coalition government.
Following "constructive discussions" across Monday and Tuesday, both Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin will now move forward with "in-depth detailed" talks.
"The leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have held constructive discussions over the last two days about a series of policy issues and the current political situation," begins a Fine Gael statement issued on Tuesday evening.
"They have decided that teams from the two parties should now commence in-depth detailed talks.
"Both parties will also continue discussions with the Green Party. Both leaders are acutely aware of the enormous challenges facing the country particularly with the onset of Covid-19.
"They enter the talks as equal partners determined to develop proposals which will serve the interests of the people of Ireland."