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Government Formation Talks Continue Amid Covid 19 Outbreak

Policy talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have been continuing as the government responds to the Coronavirus crisis.

Efforts to form a government are continuing after it was revealed no new laws can be passed from next week.

The lack of a new government will paralyse the legislative process from midnight on Sunday.

To pass new laws they need the approval of both the Dáil and the Seanad.

And we have that now - but only until Sunday.

Seanad elections are underway.

49 of the 60 seats will be filled by a limited pool of voters.

The other 11 are chosen directly by the Taoiseach.

The issue is that Leo Varadkar can't do this as outgoing Taoiseach.

And the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil Sean O Fearghail has been given legal advice saying without those 11 TDs, the new Seanad can't sit.

No new Seanad, no new laws.

For politicians there's a simple fix - elect a new government, and a new Taoiseach.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are meeting again today to discuss doing that.

But even combined, they're 8 seats short of a majority.

So even after they've agreed a programme for government, or more likely a programme for dealing with the Coronavirus and worrying about everything else later, they'll need other parties to come on board.

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin think that can be done in the next few weeks - and with the lawmaking ability of government effectively paralysed, there will be new pressure on them to do it

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