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Water charges to go as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail close to agreeing deal

The parties moved closer to agreeing a government formation deal in a bid to avoid an election after the government party was forced into a major water charges climbdown last night.

Following five hours of talks Fine Gael made a new concession to Fianna Fáil, offering the effective suspension of water charges for up to 18 months.

The move, which one Fianna Fáil negotiator said meant “water charges as you know them are gone” involves an initial nine month suspension of charges while an independent commission is set up.

This commission will then pass on its conclusions to an Oireachtas committee, which will be given nine more months to decide on a new charges system, effectively meaning fees will be suspended for 18 months.

While the two parties have not signed off on anything, there is a compromise offer on the table.

While further talks are planned today, it is now thought the two parties could finalise a deal in the next 36 hours.

Fine Gael would then need to conclude talks with Independents and get at least six more of them on board which would guarantee the re-election of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach in a Dáil vote.

Meanwhile, there will be statements on Irish Water in the Dáil for four hours this afternoon.

Sinn Féin has said that is not good enough and a vote on charges should be taking place.

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About Padraig Conlon

Padraig Conlon
More on Padraig coming soon.

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