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Ireland is suffering from months of political deadlock as the country continues to struggle to form a new government. Following the election in February, where no party won an outright majority, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens have been scrambling to strike a coalition agreement. However, there continue to be major stumbling blocks that threaten to torpedo the fragile talks for a historic coalition government – including on Brexit.
One of the main sticking points arose when Irish farmers and their MPs accused the Greens of trying to devastate their agricultural industry during the talks, with Ireland’s farmers already fearing the catastrophic impact of a no deal Brexit.
Speaking to euronews, reporter Shona Murray said: “The electorate are also asking what the hold-up is, given they voted back on February 8th, which feels like a lifetime ago.
“There is a need for a strong government given the type of policies that need to be implemented over the next few months.
“There are few areas holding up the talks. Over retirement age, two parties, the Fianna Fail and the Greens, want to keep it at 65, insisting they promised this to the electorate.”
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She continued: “But the others, the Fine Gael, say this is unsustainable, and that they need to increase it to 67.
“There are also huge issues around green policies. The Greens want to be assiduous in implementing the Paris Climate Accord.
“The Greens want to transform how agriculture is done in Ireland and that is not going over well with rural MPs and rural electorate.
“They are already facing huge problems over Brexit because the UK is its main export market.”
Rural Irish MPs are also frustrated by the Greens attempt to reduce carbon emissions annually by seven percent, prompting fears of the impact such a development may have on agriculture.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are just eight votes short of a majority in the Dáil (Irish Parliament), and need the Greens’s 12 seats in order to govern.
Caretaker leader Leo Varadkar has told colleagues he was not prepared to enter into a new Government “at all costs” and stressed any deal needed fiscal responsibility at its heart.
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Leo Varadkar, 41, has been Ireland’s leader since June 2017 but his party endured a humiliating election result in February.
He has since offered his resignation to Michael Higgins, who as President is Ireland’s head of state.
However, Mr Varadkar has remained as caretaker Taoiseach ever since,
Sinn Fein, which emerged from the general election with a surprise 37 seats, are not involved in the ongoing coalition talks, after having been frozen out by the two major parties.
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