Irish PM expects coalition deal in next couple of days

FILE PHOTO: Ireland’s Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland March 24, 2020. Steve Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS

DUBLIN (Reuters) – There is a strong possibility negotiators from Ireland’s Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Green parties will strike a deal over the next couple of days to form a new coalition government, acting Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday.

Any agreement to end a months-long political deadlock would have to be ratified by grassroot members from each party, with the smaller Greens requiring two-thirds support, a higher bar than the larger parties and which could yet scupper the deal.

Varadkar said the government will review in two weeks’ time whether to resume air travel to other European countries and urged EU authorities to come up with a coordinated plan where so-called “air bridges” would be opened between member states depending on the coronavirus situation.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Catherine Evans