Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael coalition plan moves forward

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Leo Varadkar and Micheál MartinImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Leo Varadkar leads Fine Gael while Mícheál Martin is the head of Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil's parliamentary parties have approved an outline framework on a new Irish government.

Both parties held meetings about the 24-page plan on Wednesday evening.

Some concerns were raised at both meetings over funding and the future identities of each party, but both backed the document, RTÉ reported.

On Tuesday, party leaders Leo Varadkar and Mícheál Martin formally signed off the plan for a coalition government.

Economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus crisis leads the joint policy document.

It is the first time the two parties that have roots in the Irish Civil War have reached an accord to share power in government.

The joint policy document aims to give the state a greater role in the areas of health, childcare and the building of homes.

'United Ireland planning'

It also includes a commitment to set up a unit “to work towards a consensus on a united island”.

The document states that the coalition government is “committed to working with all traditions on the island, to build consensus around a shared future".

"This consensus will be underpinned by the terms and institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and by absolute respect for the principle of consent enshrined therein."

They also want to ensure mechanisms are put in place to deal with the legacy of the Troubles as outlined in the Stormont House Agreement.

Investment in the Ulster Canal, the A5 road and Narrow Water Bridge is also included, as is the possibility of high speed cross-border rail links.

The document is being given to smaller parties in a bid to convince them to join a Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition government.

Fianna Fáil was the largest party in terms of seats following the general election in February, but it and Sinn Féin now have the same number of seats after a Fianna Fáil TD was elected speaker.

Image source, PA Media
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Sinn Féin won the most first preference votes

Sinn Féin won the most first preference votes, with Fine Gael the third-biggest party.

Negotiations have been ongoing since the election.

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil refused to govern with Sinn Féin.